Bishop DiLorenzo, Richmond Catholic Diocese leader, laid to rest

Posted at 2:06 PM, Aug 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-25 14:08:39-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- The Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo, the Bishop of Richmond, will be remembered for supporting and bringing together worshipers no matter their skin tone.

"He reminded people that regardless of your background we're all Catholic or universal and it's OK to celebrate who we are as a people as well," said Pam Harris, Director of the Office of Black Catholics and Asian Ministry.

Bishop DiLorenzo died at the age of 75 from heart and kidney failure on August 17 at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Friday, CBS 6 reports.

"He was a faithful servant of the Church for 49 years and a Shepherd of the Diocese of Richmond for 13 years," the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced.

Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo

Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo

Msgr. Tim Keeney traveled from Williamsburg to remember the man he called a great leader.

"The last thing he did was dedicate the new Vietnamese church and then went back to the hospital and that was only two weeks before his death," Keeney remembered.

Up until his death, DiLorenzo continued to fight intolerance and was a champion for affordable schooling for all children. He was credited with saving two struggling Catholic schools.

From his hospital bed and while transitioning into retirement, Dilorenzo wrote about the deadly rally in Charlottesville.

"I pray that those men and women on both sides can talk and seek solutions to their differences respectfully," DiLorenzo wrote. "Let us pray for peace.”

The Diocese asked the community to pray for DiLorenzo, his friends, and family.

Sen. Tim Kaine released a statement on DiLorenzo's passing:

“Anne and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Bishop DiLorenzo. The Richmond Diocese has been our family’s spiritual home for over three decades, and I remember vividly seeing the Bishop installed at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart 13 years ago. He pledged then to meet as many parishioners as he could, and he kept his promise, making himself familiar to Catholics throughout Virginia and as a friend to our family. As we remember his thoughtfulness, conviction, and sense of humor, we pray.”