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Diocese of Richmond opens bicentennial year

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The Catholic Diocese of Richmond inaugurated its bicentennial year Jan. 18-19 with diocesan-wide Masses commemorating the arrival of Bishop Patrick Kelly, first bishop of Richmond, in Virginia. Bishop Barry C. Knestout, 13th bishop of Richmond, celebrated a Mass recognizing the Catholic presence in the diocese’s Eastern vicariate at Sacred Heart Church in Norfolk Jan. 18. 

“As we begin this yearlong celebration of our diocese, it is important to reflect on the circumstances which surrounded the founding of this local church of Richmond,” said Bishop Knestout. “When we remember that not only are we the seventh diocese in the entire nation to reach this milestone of 200 years, but that we overcame so much adversity even among ourselves to get here, it is great cause for celebration. I am very much looking forward to spending the coming year with the faithful and taking part in the special events our task force has put together.”

A letter from Bishop Knestout to the faithful was read at Masses throughout the diocese during the opening weekend of the bicentennial year, along with special prayers, readings and a bicentennial hymn.

During the Mass in Norfolk, Bishop Knestout used a historic chalice and crozier. The chalice belonged to Bishop Augustine van de Vyver (1889-1911). The crozier belonged to Bishop Walter F. Sullivan (1974-2003). 

The bicentennial planning task force has organized special events to mark the 200th anniversary of the diocese of Richmond. Later this year, Bishop Knestout will celebrate additional Masses to recognize the Catholic presence in the diocese’s Central (July 11) and Western (Sept. 26) vicariates. He will also lead a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore May 9, since the diocese was formed from the Archdiocese of Baltimore. An Octave of Service, beginning on the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), the patron of the Diocese of Richmond, will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 4. Clergy, religious and laity from parishes, schools and campus ministries will gather at the Greater Richmond Convention Center Nov. 6-7 for the Diocese of Richmond’s first ever Eucharistic Congress. The event will bring together people in a diocese that covers 33,000 square miles to celebrate the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Find out more

Go to 2020.richmonddiocese.org



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020