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Bishop Barry C. Knestout Announces Policy Change Affecting the Naming of Diocesan Buildings and Institutions

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For Immediate Release: June 27, 2019

Bishop Barry C. Knestout Announces Policy Change Affecting the Naming of Diocesan Buildings and Institutions Within the Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School Returns to Former Name of Catholic High School


(RICHMOND, Va.) – On the same day six names were added to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s list of clergy with credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse, Bishop Barry C. Knestout initiated a policy directing all diocesan institutions, schools and parish buildings to only identify themselves with the following:  the names of saints, the mysteries of the faith, the titles of our Lady or of our Lord, or the place where the ministry has been established. They will no longer be named after an individual bishop, pastor, founder or individual.

The policy goes into effect today, June 27, 2019.

“Overcoming the tragedy of abuse is not just about holding accountable those who have committed abuses, it is also about seriously examining the role and complex legacies of individuals who should have done more to address the crisis in real time,” said Bishop Knestout. “The continued honorific recognition of those individuals provides a barrier to healing for our survivors, and we want survivors to know that we welcome and support them in our diocese.”

Currently, the only school building, parish or diocesan location that requires a change because of this new policy is Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School located in Virginia Beach. The school returns to its former name of Catholic High School which it was named in 1993 when it moved to its Princess Anne Road location. For more on the history, founding and naming of the school, visit:

The policy does not affect previously named rooms or wings in existing diocesan buildings, institutions, parishes or other schools within the diocese. The policy change also does not apply to plaques or signs recognizing donors or for historic figures who held an office within a diocesan institution.

“It is my hope and prayer that the policy change is another way to continue to assist survivors of abuse in their healing, especially those who have, in any way, experienced the failure of Church leadership to adequately address their needs and concerns,” said Bishop Knestout.

Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School will have time to transition to complete all work associated with the school’s name change to include logos, signs and uniforms. Fully implementing the name change will take place during the 2019-2020 school year.

“While the name of the school is changing, our mission remains the same, based firmly on Catholic teaching,” said Kelly Lazarra, superintendent of the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools. “Catholic High School is dedicated to nurturing intellect, shaping character and forming Christian values.”