Pope appoints next bishop of the Diocese of Richmond

Published: Dec. 5, 2017 at 11:50 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2017 at 2:21 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has a new bishop.

The announcement was made by the Vatican on Monday morning that the Pope appointed Bishop Barry Knestout to the role.

"Christmas has arrived early for the Diocese of Richmond. It is a joyous occasion to announce we are no longer without a shepherd," said Msgr. Mark Lane.

Knestout will become the 13th Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, which is approaching its 200th anniversary.

"I am honored to serve the church of Richmond, which has such a long and revered history of faith," Knestout said.

Born and raised just outside of Washington, Knestout says his father, a deacon,  taught him and his siblings the important of service to the church.

He was ordained in 1989, and for the past 10 years served as an auxiliary bishop and chief of staff for the Archdiocese of Washington.

"As a church we should be able to be a shining example of how that is expressed within our own lives, and our own community, that we see the dignity of each human being," Knestout said.

The bishop says his first order of business will be getting to know the lay of the land and the 74 counties the diocese covers from the Eastern Shore to Harrisonburg.

His hope is that the church can bring people together during a divisive time.

"In a time when we are challenged by many divisions, my hope and prayer is for the church of Richmond to be a strong voice for unity, charity, and impactful example of reconciliation for those who are divided," he said.

Knestout takes over as the diocese after the passing of Bishop Francis DiLorenzo this summer.

DiLorenzo known for his fight against intolerance, and work to make catholic schools more affordable.

Knestout plans to follow in that path, saying with the number of colleges and universities in the diocese, he wants to be attentive to the needs of young people.

"Today let us being a journey together, moving with hope toward the fulfillment in us of God's promises of the fullness of life and love," the bishop said.

A mass of installation for Bishop Knestout will take place at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart at noon Jan. 12.

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