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Mass of Atonement for Victims of Abuse

Bishop Knestout will celebrate nine regional Masses of Atonement with the faithful. The Masses begin at 7:30 P.M. at the locations and times provided below except where otherwise noted. All are welcome.

  • Christ the King, Abingdon–Thursday, October 4
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Salem–Friday, October 5
  • Resurrection, Moneta–Saturday, October 6 **
  • Church of the Redeemer, Mechanicsville–Tuesday, October 9
  • Saint Stephen Martyr, Chesapeake–Thursday, October 11
  • Star of the Sea, Virginia Beach–Friday, October 12
  • Saint Francis of Assisi, Staunton–Thursday, October 18
  • Saint Jerome, Newport News–Tuesday, October 23
  • Saint Joseph, Petersburg–Wednesday, October 24

**This Mass will start at Noon 


If you were unable to be with us for the Mass of Atonement on September 14, you can now view the full mass by clicking here: Mass of Atonement Video


Mass of Atonement

“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)

Friday, September 14, at 7:00 p.m., Bishop Knestout will preside at the Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse held on the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The celebration of the Mass is the first of several steps Bishop Knestout is taking in response to the present crisis facing the Church.

“Prayer must accompany us through every stage of our actions or responses to the present crisis…” wrote Bishop Knestout in a Pastoral Letter written to the Clergy and Lay Faithful of the Diocese. To read his entire pastoral letter and the the additional steps called for by Bishop, click the link:

As part of the Mass of Atonement, Bishop will remove the symbols of his office and prostrate himself before the cross and altar during the service. The prostration, similar to the prostration at the Good Friday liturgy, signifies contrition, humility, reverence, deep anguish for the suffering Christ, and too, the grief and sorrow of the Church. For more on the Mass, please click on the worship booklet below.

If you are unable to join us for The Mass of Atonement at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, you can watch the Mass while it’s live streamed here and on our YouTube Channel.



Worship Aid                                      A Prayer for Healing for Victims of Abuse


For Immediate Release: August 15, 2018

I am profoundly aware of the hurt and anger the Catholic faithful and the community at large are feeling in light of the recent report of abuse by Church leadership and now with the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on abuse in the Church. Those revelations further erode trust in Church leaders and in the Church as a whole. I am praying for all who have been abused.

Our Church — especially its bishops — must continually seek forgiveness for our failures from those who have suffered as a result of those failures.

To open ourselves to the grace we need to overcome this scourge upon our Church, we must prayerfully seek healing and reconciliation with all who have been hurt. As a step in this process, I am inviting the faithful to come and pray with me for all victims of abuse at a Mass of Atonement, Friday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m., at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond.

We will pray for all victims of abuse, express sorrow for the failure of Church leaders, seek forgiveness for our sins, and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the ongoing healing of the People of God.

During the seven months I have been bishop, I have asked for a review of the process and procedures currently in place for reporting and responding to all abuse. I am encouraged by the work of our Diocesan Review Board, a committee of lay and clergy members who have assisted our diocese for the last 16 years, in assessing accusations of child abuse and the suitability for ministry of the accused.

I am firmly committed, as Bishop of the Richmond Diocese, to addressing accusations of abuse quickly and transparently. Be assured, we will continue to make protection of the most vulnerable a priority in our parishes, schools and throughout our diocese.