Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond


Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond died at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Va., Aug. 17 from heart and kidney failure. He was 75.

The Funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 25 at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, followed by entombment in the Cathedral Crypt.

A native of Philadelphia, he was named the 12th bishop of Richmond by St. John Paul II in 2004. Before he was appointed to the Virginia diocese, he was the bishop of Honolulu. He also was a former auxiliary bishop in Scranton, Pa.

Bishop DiLorenzo was one of the first to call for peace during the chaos- and hate-filled weekend in Charlottesville, when white supremacists holding a rally clashed with counterprotesters Aug. 11 and 12. The events led to the deaths of three people and injuries to more than 19 others.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori remembered Bishop DiLorenzo as a “good moral theologian” and a bishop who “cheerfully did whatever the Church asked of him.”

The Diocese of Richmond is part of the ecclesiatical province of Baltimore.

In 1988, he was named auxiliary bishop of Scranton. He was appointed apostolic administrator of Honolulu in 1993 and in 1994 became the bishop of Honolulu.

Francis Xavier DiLorenzo was the oldest of three children born to an Italian-American butcher and a homemaker. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1968 and served in pastoral and educational assignments, and later as vice-rector and rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

In Rome, he earned a licentiate in sacred theology from the Academia Alphonsiana and a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.

A moral theologian and a lover of history, Bishop DiLorenzo was known for his humility, his booming voice—he frequently broke into song—and his concern for those less fortunate, which he addressed especially through his interest in Catholic schools and lay Catholic formation.

In 2004, with now-retired Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, Va., he established the Virginia Catholic Conference to represent the bishops and their dioceses on public policy issues in the state capital of Richmond and with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.

On the national level over the years, he had been a member of the USCCB’s Administrative Committee, Committee on Doctrine and Ad Hoc Committee on Bishops’ Life and Ministry. He was chairman of the conference’s Committee on Science and Human Values. He helped launch a series of teaching brochures on the relationship of science and religion and on bioethical issues such as genetic testing and screening of embryos.—CNS

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond