Statement from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on the Appointment of Bishop Knestout Named 13th Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond


December 5, 2017

Pope Francis has named Bishop Barry C. Knestout – up until now an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington – as Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond. The announcement was publicized in Washington on December 5 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.  

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington responded with the following statement:

“I offer my sincere congratulations and prayerful best wishes to Bishop Knestout on having been appointed by the Holy Father as the 13th Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond.  Having known Bishop Knestout for many years, I have personally witnessed his pastoral zeal and administrative skills.  All who know him will attest to his faithfulness and love of Our Lord Jesus and His Church. I look forward to working closely and collaboratively with him as a brother bishop in the Virginia Catholic Conference. The VCC will benefit greatly from Bishop Knestout’s wisdom and expertise, and together we will strive to provide leadership that will amplify the Catholic faith to the public square.”


Biography of Bishop Knestout:

Bishop Barry C. Knestout was born and raised in Maryland. One of nine children, he grew up in Bowie, Maryland, where he attended both Catholic and public schools. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Maryland in December 1984. He began his seminary studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1985 and was ordained a priest in June 1989.


After ordination to the priesthood, Bishop Knestout served as a parochial vicar at two parishes, St. Bartholomew in Bethesda (1989-1993) and St. Peter in Waldorf (1993-1994) before being named priest-secretary to Cardinal James A. Hickey in 1994. He continued in that role until the cardinal’s death in 2004, also serving as priest-secretary to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick in 2001 and from 2003 to 2004.


Named a Monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1999, Bishop Knestout was executive director of the Office of Youth Ministry/CYO from 2001-2003 and became pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring in 2004. In October 2006, he returned to the central administration of the archdiocese to serve as Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns. Less than two years later, in April 2007, he was named moderator of the curia. In this role, as the “chief of staff” for the archdiocese’s central offices, he assists Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl in managing and overseeing all administrative affairs.


He is a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the Order of Malta and a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. He serves on the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council, the Archdiocesan Finance Council and the College of Consultors. In addition, he has been a member of the Archdiocesan Building Commission since 1991 and the Archdiocesan Sacred Arts Commission since 1994. He is a member of the Administrative Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference and the Episcopal Moderator of the American Catholic Correctional Chaplains Association. He also serves as the Region IV representative on the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, as well as the Episcopal Liaison to the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference.


Pope Benedict XVI named him auxiliary bishop of Washington and titular bishop of Leavenworth on November 18, 2008. He was ordained a bishop by then-Archbishop Donald Wuerl on December 29, 2008 with Bishop Francisco González Valer, S.F. and Bishop Martin David Holley as co-consecrators.