Welcome to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond
As a diocese, we are a spiritual and faith-centered people. Full, active and joyful participation at worship is a top priority in every parish. Our parishes are communities where members know each other, socialize with each other, care for one another and come together as Church for each other and for others. Our parishes are centers of Christian study, learning and formation — liturgical and devotional prayer — liturgical music and art — faith sharing and development — lively gatherings for worship and for fellowship. Our parishes are home base for outreach to those in need, for collaboration with people of other faiths and united efforts with other Christian communities.
Read on to find out a little more about us — and please make yourself at home at our web site.
Where We Are
The Catholic Diocese of Richmond encompasses all of the southern part of Virginia — including the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Our territory covers three-fifths of Virginia, some 36,000 square miles. On the east, borders stretch from the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean west to West Virginia and Kentucky; to the south, we border Tennessee and North Carolina, and extend north to the counties of Northern Virginia that comprise the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Click here for a detailed map of the diocese.
Past and present…
We are one of the oldest dioceses in the country. Our territory was formerly part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Pope Pius VII established us as our own diocese in 1820. At that time we included all of Virginia — a territory that included all of what is now West Virginia. Pope Paul VI established our current borders in 1973.
Today there are over 220,000 active Catholics in the diocese involved in our 149 parishes. We also have 202 priests in our diocese, including about 40 retired priests, some of whom are still active in priestly ministry, and about 40 religious order priests. There are 200 religious order women and men serving in the diocese.
Ours is an active and vibrant diocese, marked by a spirit of enthusiasm for ministry. Lay involvement in ministry is one of our hallmarks. Laywomen and laymen participate fully on every level of ministry. Our ministries include administration, worship, education, formation and fellowship — and extend to care, assistance and advocacy for those in need. All diocesan and parish ministries take place in a partnership among laity and clergy, between the bishop and the people.
As the many elements of our web site indicate, there are many facets to our makeup and our activities.
A Diverse and Active Family
Our diocesan family has many faces. We have a wide scope of ethnic and racial identities and backgrounds — Hispanic, Filipino, African American, Korean, Vietnamese, Eastern and Western European. We come from places all over the country and the entire globe. Many of our Catholic people are military personnel attached to the large number of military bases in the diocese. Our diocese has a twinning relationship with the Catholic Diocese of Hinche in Haiti, and many of our parishes have a twinning and outreach relationship with parishes in that Haitian diocese.
Our great variety of gifts and needs foster activities that touch many people in numerous ways. We have ministry for and with children, youth, young adults, adults and older adults; engaged couples, married couples, the divorced, the bereaved, the imprisoned, the sick and the dying. We have 8 Catholic high schools, 24 Catholic elementary schools, 10 Catholic hospitals, 14 Catholic residential adult care centers and a large number of other facilities, organizations, agencies and services — including our parishes and our chancery offices — that work together to carry out our mission of ministry to others.
Those other facilities and services include day care centers for the young and the old, retreat centers, family and neighborhood centers, special services for children, services for the disabled, Catholic Scouting, Catholic Golden Age, Catholic Campus Ministries, Catholic Charities, Refugee and Immigration Services, Task Force on Aids, Commission for Black Catholics, Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs, Sowers of Justice, Women’s Commission — and many, many more.
Our diocese has a particular commitment to works of social justice and peacemaking. We are active in assistance, education and advocacy in an integrated approach to the Right to Life — including, among many efforts — working to end abortions, to abolish the death penalty, to rehabilitate prisoners, to heal victims of crime, to care for and protect victims of domestic violence, to facilitate adoptions and counsel for alternatives to unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
About This Site
We hope you enjoy your visit to our diocesan web site. We are confident the pages on our site will give you a sense of the fabric and texture of our diocese. If you haven’t already, take a look around. You will see and learn more of what we are about, what we do and what we believe as the people of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.
Most of our sub-sites present the work of our diocesan offices. This is not because we are top-heavy — the majority of our life takes place in the lives of our people, and our faith is nourished, professed and celebrated in our parishes. But our diocesan offices support, foster and help enable our life and faith as a diocesan church. The tasks of our chancery personnel echo our mission and mirror our work as a diocese.