I’d just like to give a brief tribute to my home Diocese, the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.
Just over two years ago, we were one of the worst dioceses in the country under the leadership of our former Bishop, Walter Sullivan. Sullivan was one of the most liberal Bishops in the country (apparently his hero was Rembert Weakland), and brought alot of terrible things to our diocese. Out of charity, I won’t go into specifics, but I attribute in part the fact that I left the Church for about seven years to Bishop Sullivan and the people that he hired.
Well, in 2004, which was the year that I “converted back” to Catholicism, we finally received a new Bishop! His name is Francis Xavier DiLorenzo and he was from the Diocese of Honolulu. He seems to be a wonderful administrator and really cracked down on alot of the abuses in the Diocese. For instance, he immediately fired a woman who worked for the Diocese who was going around pushing for women’s ordination- DiLorenzo had a meeting with her in which he told her, “you’re not a Catholic…you’re a Protestant.” Moreover, he “fired” a pastor of this one parish who had engaged in dire Liturgical abuses, such as saying Holy Mass in a Superman costume and riding a motorcylce into the church on Palm Sunday (Jesus told his apostles, “go fetch me a donkey,” not “go fetch me some hot wheels.”) Moreover, unlike his predecessor, Bishop diLorenzo is very attached and active with the Richmond Cathedral.
One of the things that DiLorenzo did was tour the Diocese and “move around” pastors who weren’t very good for their particular parish. I heard that he moved around some 80 priests within the Diocese! For instance, my particular pastor was a bit “full of himself” because he was practically worshiped by his congregation. Therefore, he was able to get away with lots of liturgical abuses. Needless to say, my family’s parish used to be TERRIBLE- very liberal. But in 2005, diLorenzo decided to move my old pastor to a place in Richmond and then imported Fr. Abe, from a parish in Shenandoah.
Needless to say, Fr. Abe is an extremely holy man. He has introduced wonderful music to our parish, has increased Eucharistic Adoration to every week, and has incense in every liturgy! Also, he is a very intellectual man and constantly gives talks on apologetics and the teachings of the Holy Father. He has done wonders to my parish, which just goes to show that no matter how bad a parish is, it isn’t beyond hope!
In Richmond itself, there is an amazing church called St. Benedicts. It has Eucharistic Adoration every week, has a beautiful edifice, daily mass at 5:30 PM every day, and uses the Latin Plainchant in its mass. Its pastor, Fr. Kauffman is absolutely wonderful and a very traditional man.
The Diocese’s vocational director is also an amazing man, too! He is very “in touch” with young people, but at the same time extremely wise and conservative.
In fact, I believe the diocese has 12 new seminarians this year, which is wonderful!
There are several contemplative monasteries throughout the diocese, including my beloved Bethlehem Poor Clare Monastery in Barhamsville, Virginia. Fr. Russell Smith, the Diocesan Theologian, says mass there every morning. Also in the Diocese are Benedictine monks, Trapestine nuns, and Sisters of the Visitation.
I’ll end this discourse by talking about the Diocese of Richmond’s very on Saint-to-be, Frank Parater! Frank Parater was a very holy seminarian who died in Rome in 1929, and his famous for his beautiful “Act of Oblation.” He was also one of the first Catholic Eagle Scouts in America. Fr. Scott Duarte, also of the Diocese of Richmond, is the postulator of his cause. Believe me, Frank Parater’s intercession WORKS! I will definitely start another thread devoted simply to Frank.
So, has anyone else had experience with the Diocese of Richmond? And, do any of you who are part of the Diocese agree that it is getting REALLY GOOD? I’d love your input!