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 Michael Burbidge, 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 in-person advocacy, such as visits to legislators' district offices and Catholics in the Capital days
  • Communicating regularly with Catholic and secular print, electronic and social media

Because We Are Catholic

Faith, Education, Health Care, Social Services & Community:

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The Reach of the Catholic Church in Virginia*


Catholic People & Catholic Work

8,382,993 total Virginia population

693,299 registered Catholics or 8.3 percent of Virginia population

8,259 employees of the Dioceses of Arlington and Richmond (lay employees of chanceries and parishes, excluding priests and religious)

4,223 Catholic school employees

11,100 Catholic hospital employees

840 Catholic nursing home employees

311 Catholic Charities employees

24, 733 total employees of Catholic entities in Virginia


Catholic Education

77 Catholic primary and high schools

26,561 Catholic school students

27% non-Catholic student population

25% minority student population

1,156 students who receive Education Improvement Scholarships

2,196 students with special needs

$315.7 million - amount Catholic schools save Commonwealth

4 Catholic colleges & universities

4,781 students at Catholic colleges


Catholic Health Care

8 Catholic hospitals

$75.4 million in charity care (free health care services for patients who are uninsured or underinsured, not otherwise captured)

$30.1 million in other community benefits (support of local safety net services such as free clinics, community organizations, mobile health services, health education support programs, etc.)

$53.5 million Medicaid shortfall (difference between what commonwealth of Virginia pays hospitals for taking care of patients with Medicaid and the hospital’s actual cost of providing that care)

 $159 million total community benefit (combination of the above)


Care for the aged and infirm

7 homes for the aged, chronically ill & invalids

1,725 assisted annually

$60,432,925 value of health care provided


Catholic Social Service Agencies (ministries include care for homeless, hungry, elderly, immigrants and refugees, foster care and adoption services, financial, housing and mental health counseling, job training, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL))

3 Catholic Charities

28 languages spoken

81,853 clients served

$26.9 million total combined budget


Other Catholic facts

2 Dioceses (the Dioceses of Arlington and Richmond)

2 Bishops, 1 Bishop Emeritus

476 Priests (Diocesan, Religious, Extern, Retired) and 216 Permanent Deacons

212 Catholic parishes and 7 missions

272 Religious Sisters and 16 Religious Brothers

13+ languages spoken at Catholic Masses, including: English, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Ghanaian, Twi/Akan, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Gaelic, Tygrina and English with Indian dialect. Also American Sign Language.

Countless ministries in each of 219 parishes and missions to care for families and children, the hungry, sick, imprisoned, elderly, vulnerable and migrant.

2 Catholic newspapers

144,000 combined Catholic newspaper circulation

*SOURCES: The Official Church Directory (P.J. Kenedy & Sons); The U.S. Census Bureau; The Diocese of Arlington; The Diocese of Richmond;  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 Catholic Herald