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First three bishops of Arlington

First slide

Bishop Welsh – First bishop of Arlington


Aug. 13, 1974-Aug. 4, 1983

Thomas J. Welsh was born Dec. 20, 1921, in Weatherly, Pa., to Edward C. and Mary (Doheny) Welsh. In 1937, he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa.

Ordained a priest May 30, 1946, in Philadelphia, he then earned a doctorate in canon law from Catholic University in Washington. In September 1965, he was named a monsignor and Cardinal John Krol appointed him rector of St. Charles Seminary in 1966. Pope Paul VI named him an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia April 2, 1970.

The pope appointed him the founding bishop of the Arlington Diocese June 4, 1974. It consisted of 136,000 Catholics in 49 parishes and seven missions. He was installed Aug. 13, 1974, at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

Bishop Welsh welcomed women religious into the diocese, including the Poor Clares, the Daughters of St. Paul, the Vocation Sisters from England, the Dominican Sisters of Nashville and Our Lady’s Missionaries of the Eucharist. He opened the Office of Migration and Refugee Services in 1975 to reach out to Hispanic and Vietnamese immigrants and in 1979 he established Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Church in Arlington.

A strong proponent of the Catholic press, Bishop Welsh began the Arlington Catholic Herald in August 1975 and hired Charles W. Carruth as its founding editor. The first issue was released in January 1976.

Bishop Welsh approved the establishment of Christendom College in 1977 and the purchase of the Paul VI Catholic High School building in Fairfax. That same year, he opened the Family Life Bureau (now the Family Life Office) under the direction of Father Franklyn M. McAfee.

In 1983, he helped establish Catholic Distance University with Marianne Evans Mount.

Bishop Welsh established six new parishes: St. Stephen the Martyr in Middleburg; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Lake Ridge; Our Lady of the Blue Ridge in Madison; St. Catherine of Siena in Great Falls; St. John Neumann in Reston; and Holy Martyrs of Vietnam. He dedicated 11 new churches and several more were near completion or in the planning stages at the end of his episcopacy in Arlington

He was installed as the second bishop of Allentown March 21, 1983, and he retired in December 1997. He died Feb. 19, 2009, at the age of 87.

Bishop Keating – Second bishop of Arlington

Aug. 4, 1983-March 22, 1998

John R. Keating was born July 20, 1934, in Chicago to Robert J. and Gertrude Keating[NO1] . He attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago, and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill.

He studied theology at the Gregorian University in Rome while attending the North American College 1955-59. He was ordained a priest in Rome by Bishop Martin O’Connor, rector of the North American College, Dec. 20, 1958.

Father Keating received his licentiate in sacred theology in 1959 from the Gregorian. He returned to Chicago in June 1959 as associate pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Chicago, where he served until October 1960. In 1963, he earned his doctorate in canon law from the Gregorian.

Father Keating was appointed assistant chancellor by Cardinal Albert G. Meyer, and continued to serve as assistant chancellor under Cardinal John P. Cody while also working in archdiocesan parishes.

He was vicar general and chancellor of the archdiocese from December 1979 until his appointment to Arlington in 1983.

When Cardinal Cody died in April 1982, Father Keating was elected administrator of the archdiocese and served until August 1982, when Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin was named archbishop of Chicago.

He was installed as the second bishop of Arlington Aug. 4, 1983. At that time, the diocese had 188,000 Catholics in 57 parishes. Bishop Keating dedicated more than 20 new churches and seven new schools. He instituted a structure in Arlington similar to the one in Chicago, with four departments — pastoral, financial, judicial and administrative, with each department head reporting to the moderator of the curia.

Bishop Keating issued six pastoral letters: Consultation in the Parish in September 1984; On Reverence for the Eucharist in December 1988; On Catholic Schools in September 1990; On Handing on the Faith in October 1992; On Morality and Conscience in September 1994; and Courage in September 1996.

Bishop Keating appointed Father James R. Gould diocesan vocations director, and together they developed a program that is unique among U.S. dioceses. Bishop Keating ordained 84 men to the priesthood, including 13 men in May 1996, the largest ordination class in diocesan history.

He died March 22, 1998, at the age of 64.

Bishop Loverde — Third bishop of Arlington

March 25, 1999-Oct. 4, 2016

Bishop Paul S. Loverde was born Sept. 3, 1940, in Framingham, Mass., to Paul and Ann Marie (Conti) Loverde. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Bernard Seminary College in Rochester, N.Y., and was ordained a priest Dec. 18, 1965, in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

He earned his licentiate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in June 1966. He received his licentiate in canon law May 22, 1982, from Catholic University in Washington.

He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Hartford, Conn., Feb. 3, 1988, and was ordained a bishop April 12, 1988. He was installed as the 11th bishop of Ogdensburg, N.Y., Jan. 17, 1994, and the third bishop of Arlington March 25, 1999.

During his time in Arlington, Bishop Loverde established eight new parishes, dedicated 12 new churches and ordained more than 70 priests.

In 2001, Bishop Loverde launched the “Rooted in Faith — Forward in Hope” capital campaign to support a diocese that had grown more than 260 percent since its founding. The campaign ended in 2007 with nearly $97 million collected from 28,500 donors. The funds supported Catholic education, including the founding of Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries, diocesanwide tuition assistance, a youth ministry endowment, the construction of the San Damiano Spirituality Center, a retreat facility in White Post, and the St. Rose of Lima Priest Retirement Villa in Annandale, where seven priests currently reside. In addition, it financed a variety of Catholic Charities efforts.

Bishop Loverde announced in June 2015 the relocation of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax to a 68-acre property in Loudoun County to serve the fastest-growing county in the state. The new facility is projected to open in 2020.

In 2005, Bishop Loverde resumed the permanent diaconate program after a 20-year hiatus. In 2011, 16 men were ordained to the diaconate, and 81 permanent deacons now serve the diocese.

The bishop made Catholic campus ministry a priority at the four diocesan high schools and four universities — George Mason University in Fairfax, Christendom College in Front Royal, Marymount University in Arlington and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg — have strong campus ministries and a full-time chaplain.

Diocesan priests also serve as chaplains at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, James Madison University in Harrisonburg and Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg in the Richmond Diocese. A fledgling campus ministry has been formed at Shenandoah University in Winchester.

In 2004, Bishop Loverde established the Office of Multicultural Ministries to serve the growing Catholic ethnic groups in the diocese, including: Asian and Pacific Islanders (Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Chinese, Samoan and Filipino), African-American, African (Eritrean, Ethiopian, Cameroonian, Ugandan and Ghanaian), European (German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Irish, Portuguese and French), South American (Brazilian) and migrant (Haitian and Caribbean.)

An outspoken proponent of religious freedom, Bishop Loverde joined with Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo in 2005 to establish the Virginia Catholic Conference.

Between 2006 and 2013, the bishop penned five pastoral letters individually and two with Bishop DiLorenzo on topics such as the scourge of pornography, appropriate responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the gift of U.S. Catholic schools and the importance of lifelong devotion to the Sacred Heart.

His 2006 letter, Bought with a Price: Every Man’s Duty to Protect Himself and His Family from a Pornographic Culture, was reprinted in 2014 and translated into both Spanish and French.




© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016