What is a dean?

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Suburbs or city, inside the Beltway or out — the Northern Virginia area is full of different regions, each with its own needs and characteristics. The Arlington Diocese, too, is made up of seven geographical groupings of parishes, or deaneries. A dean, also known as the vicar forane, is a priest recommended by his peers and appointed by the bishop, usually for a five-year term.

The current deans are Very Rev. Stanley J. Krempa, pastor of St. Bridget of Ireland Church in Berryville; Very Rev. Lee R. Roos, pastor of All Saints Church in Manassas; Very Rev. Andrew J. Fisher, pastor of St. Ambrose Church in Annandale; Very Rev. Francis M. de Rosa, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Colonial Beach; Very Rev. James S. Barkett, pastor of St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax Station; Very Rev. Patrick L. Posey, pastor of St. James Church in Falls Church; and Very Rev. William P. Saunders, pastor of Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls.

Father Fisher is the dean for Deanery II, which includes 14 parishes from Burke to Alexandria. By visiting all the parishes, the dean helps connect pastors with other parishes in the area with similar challenges and blessings.

“What affects one parish usually affects the network of parishes around it,” Father Fisher said. “I can help them to know what resources are available from the diocese so that they can be a better pastor or parochial vicar. A dean has the great honor of working with the priests of his deanery and in many ways he can be a bridge between the diocese and the priest.”

Father Fisher also supports the religious order priests who serve at two parishes in his deanery. He joins in celebrating the deanery’s milestones, such as the 50th anniversary of St. Lawrence Church in Alexandria in May. “Hopefully I am a very tangible show of the unity of parishes in the area,” he said.

Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge has a vested interest in fostering the role of the deans. “The deans are my close collaborators and I am grateful for their generous service and support,” said Bishop Burbidge. “I have asked them to keep three high priorities. First, they are to carry out extensive parish visits within the deaneries, which will allow them to dialogue with the pastor, priests, deacons, staff and lay faithful and will reflect my pastoral concern for them. The reports they will forward to me will keep me closely informed and updated on the many parish ministries, programs and initiatives.

“Second, I have requested the deans to gather the priests of the deanery on a consistent basis for study, prayer and fraternity. Third, the deans will serve on the newly formed Clergy Personnel Board and will assist me with the assignments of the priests.”

Father Saunders, who served as a dean previously (2002-14), is dean of Deanery III. In the past, he and the other priests in the deanery would have monthly dinners, each hosted by a different rectory. In an effort to resume these dinners, they met July 19 for dinner at a local restaurant.

“I like the fact that (being dean) gives me the opportunity to organize events where all of the priests in the deanery can come together,” he said.

As the founding pastor of Our Lady of Hope, he has been able to advise other priests on construction and planning in his growing area of the diocese. He believes the expanded role of the deans will help the bishop learn more about his new diocese. “It will give him a better pulse of what's going on,” said Father Saunders.

Father Roos, dean of Deanery V, also looks forward to further implementing the bishop’s goals.

“(Bishop Burbidge) is trying to foster better communications among the priests locally,” said Father Roos, adding that it provides a forum where priests can talk about matters and issues.

Bishop Burbidge said, “In the seven months that I have been in the diocese, I have been blessed to get to know the deans and I am confident that I will benefit greatly from their wisdom and insights. I look forward to working and collaborating with them.”

Arlington’s deaneries

 

Deanery I

Very Rev. Patrick L. Posey, pastor of St. James Church in Falls Church

Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Arlington; Holy Martyrs of Vietnam, Arlington; Our Lady of Lourdes, Arlington; Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Arlington; St. Agnes, Arlington; St. Ann, Arlington; St. Anthony, Falls Church; St. Charles Borromeo, Arlington; St. James, Falls Church; St. John the Beloved, McLean; St. Luke, McLean, St. Philip, Falls Church

 

Deanery II

Very Rev. Andrew J. Fisher, pastor of St. Ambrose Church in Annandale

Blessed Sacrament, Alexandria; Good Shepherd, Alexandria; Holy Spirit, Annandale; Church of the Nativity, Burke; Queen of Apostles, Alexandria; St. Ambrose, Annandale; St. Bernadette, Springfield; St Joseph, Alexandria; St. Lawrence, Alexandria; St. Louis, Alexandria; St. Mary, Alexandria; St. Michael, Annandale; St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield; St. Rita, Alexandria

Deanery III

Very Rev. William P. Saunders, pastor of Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls

Christ the Redeemer, Sterling; Corpus Christi, South Riding; Our Lady of Hope, Potomac Falls; St. Theresa, Ashburn; St. Thomas à  Becket, Reston; St. Joseph, Herndon; St. Katherine Drexel Mission, Bull Run; St. Catherine of Siena, Great Falls; St. Stephen Martyr, Middleburg; St. Francis de Sales, Purcellville; St. John Neumann, Reston; St. John the Apostle, Leesburg

Deanery IV

Very Rev. Stanley J. Krempa, pastor of St. Bridget of Ireland Church in Berryville

Our Lady of the Blue Ridge, Madison; Our Lady of the Shenandoah Mission, Basye; Our Lady of the Valley, Luray; Precious Blood, Culpepper; Sacred Heart of Jesus, Winchester; St. Bridget of Ireland, Berryville; St. Isidore the Farmer, Orange; St. John Bosco, Woodstock; St. John the Baptist, Front Royal; St. Peter, Washington

Deanery V

Very Rev. Lee R. Roos, pastor of All Saints Church in Manassas

All Saints, Manassas; Holy Family, Dale City; Holy Trinity, Gainesville; Our Lady of Angels, Woodbridge; Sacred Heart, Manassas; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Lake Ridge; St. Francis of Assisi, Triangle; St. John the Evangelist, Warrenton

Deanery VI

Very Rev. James S. Barkett, pastor of St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax

Our Lady of Good Counsel, Vienna; St. Andrew the Apostle, Clifton; St. Clare of Assisi, Clifton; St. Leo the Great, Fairfax; St. Mark, Vienna; St. Mary of Sorrows, Fairfax; St. Paul Chung, Fairfax; St. Timothy, Chantilly; St. Veronica, Chantilly

Deanery VII

Very Rev. Francis M. de Rosa, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Colonial Beach

St. Anthony Mission, King George; St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Colonial Beach; St. Francis de Sales, Kilmarnock; St. Jude, Fredericksburg; St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Fredericksburg;, St. Matthew, Spotsylvania; St. Patrick, Fredericksburg; St. Paul Mission, Hague; St. William of York, Stafford

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

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