Pope appoints Washington auxiliary as new bishop of Richmond

By Hannah Brockhaus

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Bishop Barry Knestout. Photo Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Washington.

On Tuesday the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ appointment of Bishop Barry C. Knestout, until now one of three auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Washington, as the next bishop of the Diocese of Richmond.

He fills the vacancy left by Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo, who died Aug. 17.

In a statement made at the time of the announcement, the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, said that the appointment “is good news and reason for us to rejoice with the Diocese of Richmond.”

During Knestout’s time serving the Archdiocese of Washington, “he has demonstrated his pastoral skills, his commitment to the Church and her teaching, and his devoted service to those entrusted to his care,” Wuerl said.

He has served the Archdiocese of Washington in a number of capacities, most notably as a pastor, auxiliary bishop, vicar general and moderator of the curia, Wuerl continued, voicing his gratitude to have worked in ministry alongside Knestout.

He also pointed out his influence in helping to organize the archdiocese’s first synod, his hand in working to revitalize the local Catholic educational system, and his help in opening the new Saint John Paul II Seminary.

“With great appreciation we thank Bishop Knestout as he takes on his new responsibilities and we ask God’s blessings on him.”

Knestout, 55, was born June 11, 1962, in Maryland. He studied architecture at the University of Maryland before entering Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg in 1985. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington in June 1989.

He served at two parishes as parochial vicar before serving as priest-secretary to Cardinal James A. Hickey from 1994 until the cardinal's death in 2004. He also served as priest-secretary to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick in 2001 and from 2003-2004.

In 1999 he was given the title of monsignor by Pope John Paul II.

He was executive director of the archdiocese’s Office of Youth Ministry from 2001-2003 and served as pastor of St. John Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring in 2004.

Cardinal Wuerl appointed him secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns in Oct. 2006, then in April 2007, he was made moderator of the curia and vicar for administration, a role in which he helps Wuerl to manage and oversee administrative affairs.

He is also a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Colombus, a member of the Order of Malta and of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

In 2008, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Washington and titular bishop of Leavenworth by Benedict XVI. His ordination as bishop took place on Dec. 29, 2008.

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