(Arlington, Va.) - The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, today made the following statement:
"I am deeply saddened by the death of Father Richard Martin, pastor of Church of the Nativity. My thoughts and prayers and those of his brother priests are with his family and his parishioners at this time of sadness and human loss. I am grateful for his long years of service to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church within the Dioceses of Arlington and Richmond, and the Catholic faithful. In his seventeen years as pastor at Church of the Nativity, and nearly 48 years as a priest, he was devoted to the spiritual care of his flock, and his loss is keenly felt.
"He was unfailingly kind, making tangible and visible his expression of kindness. How often, for example, did many among us who were experiencing some difficulty receive a plant or floral arrangement, coupled with his prayer! I would also note his extraordinary initiative in establishing the Operation Starfish program in 1998 at Church of the Nativity to serve the poor of Haiti, which due to his kindness and vision grew into a national effort. Moreover, he served faithfully earlier as a U.S. Air Force chaplain. May the Good Shepherd grant him eternal life in our heavenly dwelling place and console his grieving family, as well as his diocesan and parish families."