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December 21, 2015 | Volume 91 Number 4


holy crosss regional logoHoly Cross Regional Students Win Essay Contest on Religious Freedoms

Three Holy Cross Regional Catholic School students have won an annual essay contest sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Anna Mooney, Ashley Laneve and Thomas Wilmouth swept first, second and third place in the contest which was open to middle and high school students in the Lynchburg area. Council #595 Deputy Grand Knight Mike Wilson presented awards to the students at Mass on December 8.

“Opportunities like this essay contest allow our students to practice the critical thinking skills they are developing at school,” said Principal Mary Sherry. “We thank the Knights of Columbus for offering our students the opportunity to talk about a relevant topic like religious freedom and how very fortunate we are to have it here in this country.”

The contest also allowed the students to examine the benefits of attending Catholic school. “I am very fortunate to be a Catholic and to live in a country where I can believe in the Resurrection and I can believe in the Mystical Eucharist without being persecuted or hurt for what I believe,” wrote second place winner Ashley Laneve. “I am also fortunate to go to a Catholic school where I have a class called Religion and I’m allowed to say Merry Christmas and Happy Easter. Take from this essay that you are lucky and don’t complain that you have to go to Mass. Appreciate that right; appreciate your freedom.”


Diocese creates expanded Office of Communications

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo is pleased to announce the creation of an expanded Office of Communications for the Diocese of Richmond. This decision comes after a thorough review of communications within the Diocese that included parishioner/employee surveys, listening sessions and strategic conversations. The new office will incorporate all aspects of diocesan communications and will be led by a full-time Director of Communications reporting to the Bishop. The diocesan Communications Office is currently staffed by a part-time Director and a part-time Website Content Specialist.

The official diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Virginian, will transition from a separate 503(c) organization to be housed within the Diocese’s Office of Communications. The four current Catholic Virginian staff members will become diocesan employees and the newspaper will become a significant segment of the Communications Office.

This transition will begin in January and will extend through June 2016 with the close of the current fiscal year. However, the Communications Director position will be funded immediately by investments held by The Catholic Virginian. The new organizational structure will best enable the Diocese to seize communication opportunities and proactively address challenges.

In addition to the Director, the new Communications Office will include The Catholic Virginian Editor, who will report to the Bishop, as well as to the Director of Communications, the Assistant Editor/Business Manager and the Circulation and Database Specialist. The Creative Director’s responsibilities will be expanded under the new structure to include day-to-day management of the diocesan and newspaper websites, and creating or coordinating collateral materials and videos for Pastoral Center offices. In the near future, a full-time Social Media and Communications Coordinator and a part-time Graphic Designer will be added to the office.

During the review, a Communications Strategic Plan was developed based on internal and external feedback and a thorough benchmarking of other dioceses’ communication efforts. As part of the Communications Plan, a Communications Advisory Group, consisting of diocesan staff and leaders, members of The Catholic Virginian staff and The Catholic Virginian Board, created a Communications Mission Statement and three strategic goals which will be the focus of the Communications Office over the next 3-5 years.

Communications staff will be guided by the Communications Mission Statement which states: United with Jesus Christ and His Church, we strive to inform and inspire the people of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond to proclaim boldly the Good News of our Faith.

In addition, they will pursue the following three identified strategic goals:

Communication is at the heart of the Catholic mission. From Christ’s command to His disciples to go forth and preach to all nations, the Catholic witness has been one of both words and deeds. With this restructured office, the Diocese will be able to more fully proclaim that our faith is vibrant and full of hope — Christ is alive and active in our world.

The Communications Strategic Plan is available at under Resources, Document Center.


Bishop thanks Cathedral donors

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo wishes to thank all the parishioners of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart for their generosity to the Cathedral on a regular basis through the Sunday collections.

The Bishop, who has reviewed the recent annual financial report of Cathedral parish, wants to thank others for their generosity which has enhanced the Cathedral’s Campus Ministry to students of Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond continues to provide funds for the salaries of those involved in Campus Ministry. Bishop DiLorenzo has also given the property known as the Bishop’s House and the former Cathedral rectory for use by the Cathedral parish during his term as Bishop of Richmond.

Bishop DiLorenzo wants to especially thank The Catholic Virginian for their gift of $200,000 to refurbish the Cathedral restrooms and its annual gift of $50,000 to the Cathedral since 2008.


photo: 75 singers to make a special delivery of Christmas gifts, spirit, cheer and love.

Christmas caroling visits bring cheer

Portsmouth Catholic Regional School students and families partnered with the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Department and the Ladies of the Church of St. Therese (LOST) to bring Christmas caroling to two local nursing care and assisted living centers, Churchland House and Province Place this weekend of Advent joy. Working together with Deputy Colleen Marchesani and Ms. Gerry Jones of the LOST, PCRS staff, Ms. Donna Henry, Assistant Principal, Mrs. Danielle Smith, Music Director, and Mr. Tad Zepnikowski, National Junior Honor Society Moderator, coordinated about 75 singers to make a special delivery of Christmas gifts, spirit, cheer and love. (Photo by Dan Smith)



In our article “Why they chose to be Deacons” in the October 26 issue, it should be noted that Deacon Charley May and his wife have three grandchildren. We correctly stated that he had a granddaughter, but failed to mention that he also has two grandsons.

Further, in our story about Elizabeth Grapes’ book “ABCs by Jesus and Me” (Richmond mother of four publishes childrens book based on alphabet and Jesus, The Catholic Virginian, December 7), the book was not published by Brandywine, as stated, but by Belle Isle Books. It is not yet available in major bookstores, but can be purchased through, Belle Isle Books or ordered through your favorite book seller.

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