September 27, 2023
RICHMOND, Va. – What was once a place where people kept earthly riches will be transferred into a house of worship for Catholics to celebrate their spiritual riches. On Sept. 25, Our Lady of the Rosary Mission and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond finalized the purchase of the former Bank of America building in downtown Crozet for $1.72 million. The building and one-acre lot is the first permanent location and building owned by this Catholic community. Following the purchase, members of Our Lady of the Rosary began minor renovations on parts of the building.
Bishop Barry C. Knestout plans to celebrate the first Mass at the location on the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, Oct. 7, pending approval by Albemarle County. The community is a mission of the Church of the Incarnation in Charlottesville.
“The Church of Richmond gives thanks that the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary can look to the future with the hope of something new and have an environment in which the community can gather and strengthen the life of the Spirit among them” said Bishop Barry C. Knestout. “From the point of view of a bishop, it’s very rewarding. I am grateful that we can further the growth of this community and expand the ability of the Church to spread its mission.”
In 2016, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo officially decreed the community as a mission congregation. On Oct. 4, 2020, Bishop Knestout officially named the Catholic community Our Lady of the Rosary, announcing the mission’s name under the patronage and dedication of the Blessed Mother. This marks the first time since his installation as bishop of Richmond in 2018 that Bishop Knestout has established and named a mission within the diocese.
“This purchase gives the community a real chance to grow,” said Msgr. Timothy Keeney, pastor of Church of the Incarnation. “We hope with a new space that is our own and a morning Sunday Mass time, the enthusiasm will continue, and progress will be renewed.”
This development has been a goal for the Catholic community for more than 10 years after the community celebrated its first Mass at the former Field School in 2014. Despite the complexities of COVID and the hurdles of an extensive property search, the purchase remains a historic milestone in the life of the Catholic faithful and the Diocese of Richmond.
“It’s been tough for everybody because we wanted to move faster but we had a couple of false starts. For one reason or another, we couldn’t find suitable locations,” continued Msgr. Keeney. “This [bank location] is out of the box in terms of finding a location, but the Crozet Catholic community is happy about the location. We have a space where we can start to celebrate liturgies. We can have a daily Mass, scheduled confessions, space for parish events and formations. But most of all to have the reserved Eucharist for prayer and worship. All were impossible before the purchase of this building.”
On Saturday, Sept. 30, Our Lady of the Rosary will hold an open house for its community of approximately 300 families to view the new property.