Discover the Diocese of Richmond

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond (LatinDioecesis Richmondiensis) is an ecclesiastical and episcopal see or diocese of theRoman Catholic Church in the United States. Prior to the American Revolution there were few Catholics within Virginia. Anti-Catholic laws discouraged the faithful from settling in colonial Virginia. It was not until the passing of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786 that Catholics were free to worship openly in the Old Dominion. The Diocese of Richmond was canonically erected by Pope Pius VII on July 11, 1820. Its current territory encompasses all of central and southern VirginiaHampton Roads, and the eastern shore. It is a ceremonial suffragan of the metropolitan province of Baltimore, from which its territories were taken.
Today there are 235,816 Catholics at 146 parishes in the Diocese of Richmond. The diocese currently has 87 active priests, 59 retired priests, 88 permanent deacons, 180 members of Catholic religious order and 16 seminarians. There are 32 Catholic schools in the diocese with a total enrollment of 12,062 students in 8 High Schools and 24 Elementary Schools.
The diocese is currently led by a prelate bishop which pastors the mother church in the City of Richmond, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. The current bishop is Most Reverend Francis Xavier DiLorenzo, previously the Bishop of Honolulu. He was appointed by Pope John Paul II on March 31, 2004 and installed on May 24, 2004.

Notable people

Knights of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus has several councils in the Richmond Diocese. The Knights serve parish and communities throughout both dioceses in the Commowealth. One of the best known services is the KOVAR drive that raises money for assisting Virginians with intellectual disabilities.

High schools

About the Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Welcome to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond
As a diocese, we are a spiritual and faith-centered people. Full, active and joyful participation at worship is a top priority in every parish. Our parishes are communities where members know each other, socialize with each other, care for one another and come together as Church for each other and for others. Our parishes are centers of Christian study, learning and formation -- liturgical and devotional prayer -- liturgical music and art -- faith sharing and development -- lively gatherings for worship and for fellowship. Our parishes are home base for outreach to those in need, for collaboration with people of other faiths and united efforts with other Christian communities.
Read on to find out a little more about us -- and please make yourself at home at our web site.

Where We Arrichmonde
Catholic Diocese of Richmond: Our History fromCatholic Diocese of Richmond on Vimeo.
The Catholic Diocese of Richmond encompasses all of the southern part of Virginia -- including the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Our territory covers three-fifths of Virginia, some 33,000 square miles. On the east, borders stretch from the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean west to West Virginia and Kentucky; to the south, we border Tennessee and North Carolina, and extend north to the counties of Northern Virginia that comprise the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Click here for a detailed map of the diocese.

Past and present...
We are one of the oldest dioceses in the country. Our territory was formerly part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Pope Pius VII established us as our own diocese in 1820. At that time we included all of Virginia -- a territory that included all of what is now West Virginia. Pope Paul VI established our current borders in 1973.

Today there are over 220,000 active Catholics in the diocese involved in our 153 parishes. We also have 204 priests in our diocese, including about 30 retired priests, some of whom are still active in priestly ministry, and about 40 religious order priests. There are 200 religious order women and men serving in the diocese.

Ours is an active and vibrant diocese, marked by a spirit of enthusiasm for ministry. Lay involvement in ministry is one of our hallmarks. Laywomen and laymen participate fully on every level of ministry. Our ministries include administration, worship, education, formation and fellowship -- and extend to care, assistance and advocacy for those in need. All diocesan and parish ministries take place in a partnership among laity and clergy, between the bishop and the people.

As the many elements of our web site indicate, there are many facets to our makeup and our activities.

A Diverse and Active Family
Our diocesan family has many faces. We have a wide scope of ethnic and racial identities and backgrounds -- Hispanic, Filipino, African American, Korean, Vietnamese, Eastern and Western European. We come from places all over the country and the entire globe. Many of our Catholic people are military personnel attached to the large number of military bases in the diocese. Our diocese has a twinning relationship with the Catholic Diocese of Hinche in Haiti, and many of our parishes have a twinning and outreach relationship with parishes in that Haitian diocese.

Our great variety of gifts and needs foster activities that touch many people in numerous ways. We have ministry for and with children, youth, young adults, adults and older adults; engaged couples, married couples, the divorced, the bereaved, the imprisoned, the sick and the dying. We have 8 Catholic high schools, 24 Catholic elementary schools, 10 Catholic hospitals, 15 Catholic residential adult care centers and a large number of other facilities, organizations, agencies and services -- including our parishes and our chancery offices -- that work together to carry out our mission of ministry to others.

Those other facilities and services include day care centers for the young and the old, retreat centers, family and neighborhood centers, special services for children, services for the disabled, Catholic Scouting, Catholic Golden Age, Catholic Campus Ministries, Catholic Charities, Refugee and Immigration Services, Task Force on Aids, Commission for Black Catholics, Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs, Sowers of Justice, Women's Commission -- and many, many more.

Our diocese has a particular commitment to works of social justice and peacemaking. We are active in assistance, education and advocacy in an integrated approach to the Right to Life -- including, among many efforts -- working to end abortions, to abolish the death penalty, to rehabilitate prisoners, to heal victims of crime, to care for and protect victims of domestic violence, to facilitate adoptions and counsel for alternatives to unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

About This Site
We hope you enjoy your visit to our diocesan web site. We are confident the pages on our site will give you a sense of the fabric and texture of our diocese. If you haven't already, take a look around. You will see and learn more of what we are about, what we do and what we believe as the people of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

Most of our sub-sites present the work of our diocesan offices. This is not because we are top-heavy -- the majority of our life takes place in the lives of our people, and our faith is nourished, professed and celebrated in our parishes. But our diocesan offices support, foster and help enable our life and faith as a diocesan church. The tasks of our chancery personnel echo our mission and mirror our work as a diocese.



We, the Christian faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, led by our Bishop
and in union with the universal Church, are listeners, learners, teachers and Disciples of Christ.
We embrace our diversity and its expression in faith.
We share a vision of a diocese where love grows, life triumphs and justice and peace prevail.
We participate in God’s work to renew our Church and the world,
through Word, Worship, Community and Service.

The Pastoral Center in Richmond, Virginia is the central location for diocesan administration offices.  The Contact Pageincludes the Pastoral Center address and driving directions. Along with the Diocesan Officials listed below, otherConsultative Bodies and Advisory Groups convene at the request of Bishop DiLorenzo and can be found in theOrganizations & Associations Directory page.

Most Reverend Francis Xavier DiLorenzo, Bishop of Richmond


Francis Xavier DiLorenzo was named Bishop of Richmond by Pope John Paul II on 31 March 2004.  Born on 15 April 1942, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bishop DiLorenzo is the oldest of three children born to Samuel and Anita Porrino DiLorenzo. His younger sister is Anita Lawler and his younger brother is Paul DiLorenzo.

Bishop DiLorenzo attended St. Callistus Elementary School and St. Thomas More High School. In 1960, he enrolled in St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by John Cardinal Krol on 18 May 1968. He served in the Philadelphia Archdiocese in pastoral and educational assignments from 1968 to 1971. He was the parochial vicar at Saint Joseph Parish in Warrington from 1968 to 1969. He served as chaplain at Archbishop Woods High School for Girls, Warminster during that same period. He was an instructor in biology and religion at Cardinal Dougherty High School, Philadelphia from 1969 to 1971.

In 1971 he was sent to Rome for continued studies specializing in moral theology. He earned a license in sacred theology in 1973 from the Academia Alphonsiana and a doctorate in sacred theology in 1975 from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum).

On his return to the United States and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bishop DiLorenzo served as chaplain and instructor in theology at St. Pius X High School, Pottstown from 1975 to 1977. In 1977, he was appointed chaplain and associate professor of moral theology at Immaculata College.

He was honored with the title Chaplain to His Holiness Pope John Paul II on 30 June 1983. In 1983 he returned to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary as Vice Rector. Two years later he was named Rector of the Seminary. During these years, he was also a member of the Archdiocesan Committee and a Prosynodal Judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal. He was named a member of the Papal Household and received the title Prelate of Honor of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on 25 February 1986.

On 26 January 1988, he was appointed Titular Bishop of Tigia and Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and ordained to the episcopacy on 8 March of that year. Five years later he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Honolulu. On 4 October 1994, he became the Ordinary. During his administration, Bishop DiLorenzo was nominated by the Pope as a participant in the 1998 Synod of Bishops for Asia. At the Synod, he encouraged more collaboration between Asian and U.S. bishops to serve the growing needs of Catholic Asian immigrants in the United States.

Bishop DiLorenzo has served as a member of the Administrative Committee of the USCCB and also as chairman of the Committee on Science and Human Values. In an earlier term as chairman of that committee, he inaugurated a series of popular teaching brochures, reflecting the bishops' consultations with top scientists on topics such as the relationship of science and religion and ethical issues in the rapidly growing fields of genetic testing and genetic screening. In previous years he also served the USCCB committee on doctrine and the ad hoc committee on bishops' life and ministry. 


Our Sponsors

This site is sponsored by Mendicant Marketing, a Catholic company specializing in Internet Marketing: Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, and more.