As the Diocese of Richmond’s bicentennial commemoration was coming to a close, a statue of the diocese’s patron saint, St. Vincent de Paul, was unveiled, dedicated and blessed outside the Pastoral Center, Tuesday, Jan. 12.
The livestreamed ceremony took place on the third anniversary of Bishop Barry C. Knestout’s installation as the 13th bishop of the diocese.
During his remarks, the bishop noted that St. Vincent de Paul “is venerated as the apostle of charity as well as the father of poor because he heroically proclaimed the Gospel especially to those in need.”
Bishop Knestout noted that the second bishop of the diocese, Bishop Richard Vincent Whelan, likely chose St. Vincent de Paul to be the diocesan patron during the 1840s.
“The characteristics of the Catholic Church in Virginia at that time and for much of our history — rural, missionary and poor — closely aligned with the ministry and legacy of St. Vincent,” the bishop said.
In blessing the statue, Bishop Knestout prayed, “We ask St. Vincent de Paul to intercede for the Church of Richmond so that we may fulfill the exhortation of St. Paul, our bicentennial theme, ‘Shine like stars in the world, as you hold fast to the word of life.’”
Speaking about the statue at the conclusion of the event, Father Anthony E. Marques, chair of the Bicentennial Task Force, “This is a beautiful monument to the faith of the diocese and a source of inspiration for all who work here and visit here.”