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.
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.
A History of Missionary Catholic Identity
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 145 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.
A Diverse Family of Faith
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 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.