Responsible Citizenship

“In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do.”

-- Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,
U.S. Catholic Bishops (Nov 2007)

About Us


Jeff Caruso, Executive Director                     Bishops Francis DiLorenzo and Paul Loverde

Who We Are

The Virginia Catholic Conference is the public policy advocacy organization representing Virginia's two Catholic Bishops, Francis DiLorenzo, Diocese of Richmond, and Paul Loverde, Diocese of Arlington, and their dioceses in matters before the Virginia General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, and the state and federal administrations and their agencies.


What We Do

The Conference advocates for:

Respect life initiatives to protect human life and dignity in every stage of development and circumstance, from conception until natural death

Social justice initiatives to give first claim to the rights and needs of the poorest and most vulnerable members of the human family, including immigrants and refugees

Family life and education initiatives to preserve the institution of marriage, support the family, and promote parental choice in education

How We Do It

The Conference advocates by:

  • Maintaining contacts with state and federal lawmakers
  • Providing resources that apply Church teaching to current issues
  • Promoting grassroots advocacy, including through the email advocacy network and Catholic Advocacy Day
  • Communicating regularly with Catholic and secular print, electronic and social media

Whom We Represent: the Catholic Community in Virginia

Catholic People and Places

  • 692,140 registered Catholics, or almost 8 percent of Virginia's population of 8.75 million
  • 2 bishops
  • 2 Dioceses (the Diocese of Arlington; the Diocese of Richmond)
  • 480 Priests (Diocesan, Religious, Extern, Retired) and 215 Permanent Deacons
  • 212 Catholic parishes and 7 missions
  • 277 Religious Sisters and 16 Religious Brothers
  • 13+ languages spoken at Catholic Masses, including: English, Latin, Spanish, Portugese, Ghanaian, Twi/Akan, Vietnames, Korean, Tagalog, Gaelic, Tygrina and English with Indian dialect. Also American Sign Language

Catholic Education

  • 76 Catholic pre-school, primary and high schools
  • 26,537 students
  • 33 percent student minority population
  • 560 students who receive Educational Improvement Scholarships
  • 2,142 lay academic teachers at Catholic schools
  • 55,972 students enrolled in parish religious education programs (i.e. religious ed for Catholic students who attend public, non-Catholic, or homeschool)
  • 4 Catholic colleges & universities
  • 2 Catholic newspapers
  • 143,000 circulation

Catholic Health Care

  • 10 Catholic hospitals,
  • 16,603 hospital employees*
  • $97.6 million in charity care*
  • $44.1 million Medicaid shortfall*
  • $29 million other community benefit*
  • $170.7 million total community benefit*

*2013 totals

  • 18 homes for the aged, chronically ill & invalids
  • 2,100 assisted in these homes annually

Catholic social service agencies (ministries include care for homeless, hungry, elderly, refugees and immigrants, foster and adoption services, job training, ESOL)

  • 3 agencies
  • 135,828+ clients served annually

Sources: The Official Church Directory (P.J. Kennedy & Sons); Bon Secours Hospital System, Hampton Roads and Richmond; Catholic Charities of Eastern VIrginia; Commonwealth Catholic Charities; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington; The Catholic Virginian; The Arlington Herald