Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington

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Diocese of Arlington

Dioecesis Arlingtonensis
Cathedral-thomas more-arlington.jpg
Cathedral of St. Thomas More
Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington (recolored).svg
Coat of arms
Flag of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington.svg
Country United States
TerritoryVirginia Counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland; Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester in northeastern Virginia
Ecclesiastical provinceBaltimore
Coordinates38°52′14.4″N 77°06′12.2″W / 38.870667°N 77.103389°W / 38.870667; -77.103389Coordinates: 38°52′14.4″N 77°06′12.2″W / 38.870667°N 77.103389°W / 38.870667; -77.103389
Area6,541 sq mi (16,940 km2)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2013)
673,916[1] (22.7%)
DenominationCatholic Church
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedMay 28, 1974 (1974-05-28)
CathedralCathedral of Saint Thomas More
Patron saintSt. Thomas More
Current leadership
BishopMichael F. Burbidge
Metropolitan ArchbishopWilliam Lori
Vicar GeneralJamie R. Workman
Bishops emeritusPaul Loverde
Diocese of Arlington map 1.jpg
Diocesan offices are located in this office building on North Glebe Road.
Basilica of St. Mary, Alexandria

The Diocese of Arlington (Latin: Dioecesis Arlingtonensis) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in the Mid-Atlantic United States. The Diocese of Arlington comprises 70 parishes across 21 counties and seven independent cities.[2] The Diocese of Arlington is a suffragan diocese in the ecclesiastical province of the metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge is the ordinary of the diocese since December 2016; his residence is on the grounds of the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington County, Virginia.[3] In 2013, there were 256 priests and 453,916 registered Catholics in the Diocese of Arlington.[1] As of 2013, the total population within the diocese, Catholic and non-Catholic, was 2,968,486.[1]

The diocese also operates two mission churches for the Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic—Bánica Mission Parish (St. Francis of Assisi Church) and Pedro Santana Mission Parish, which are overseen by the diocesan Office of the Propagation of the Faith. The Director of the Propagation of the Faith in the Diocese of Arlington is currently Fr. Patrick L. Posey.[4]


The Diocese of Arlington is composed of 21 Northern Virginia counties and seven independent cities:[5]


Pope Paul VI erected the Diocese of Arlington, taking it territory from the neighboring Diocese of Richmond and making it a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, on 28 May 1974.[6][7]

Female altar servers[edit]

The Diocese of Arlington was one of a few dioceses in the United States that did not allow female altar servers until 2006. As of 2020, the Diocese of Lincoln and Phoenix are the only dioceses in the United States that maintained this prohibition.[8]

Sexual abuse[edit]

On February 14, 2019, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge released a list of sixteen priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Arlington.[9][10] In 2010, Rev. Felix Owino A.J. pled guilty to molesting an 11-year-old girl in Fairfax County.[11] In 2011, Owino was given a nine-month prison sentence, a five-year suspended prison sentence[12] and the chance of being deported back to his native country of Kenya.[11] By 2018, Owino had been deported.[13][14] In March 2020, New Jersey priest Scott Asalone was arrested on charges of sexually abusing a teenager in Loudoun County, Virginia in 1985.[15] Washington D.C. councilman David Grosso publicly identified himself as the one who was sexually abused by Asalone.[16][15]

Schools COVID -19 Pandemic Mask Mandate[edit]

As of January 23, 2022, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington has instructed its schools to follow Virginia's Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s anti-mask executive order for schools that goes into effect on January 24. In a letter to school leaders, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Arlington Joseph Vorbach, said state requirements should be followed over local health guidance when masks become optional at the state level Monday. He added the governor’s executive order “is clear on the right of parents not to have their child be subject to a mask mandate.”[17]


Bishops of Arlington[edit]

  1. Thomas Jerome Welsh (1974–1983), appointed Bishop of Allentown[18]
  2. John Richard Keating (1983–1998)
  3. Paul S. Loverde (1999–2016)
  4. Michael F. Burbidge (2016–present)

Other priest from the diocese who became bishop[edit]


Catholic colleges and universities[edit]

Catholic high schools[edit]

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington[edit]

The diocese coordinates and supports a range of charitable activities focused on assistance to the vulnerable, fund-raising and education. Initiatives include counselling, prison visits and foster care.[19] Archduchess Kathleen of Habsburg-Lorraine is a former communications director of the CCDA.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Did You Know: About Us". Diocese of Arlington. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013 – via
  2. ^ "Parish Locator". Arlington, VA: Diocese of Arlington. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007.
  3. ^ Andreassi, Anthony D. (2002). Walking in Faith: the first 25 Years. A History of the Diocese of Arlington, Editions du Signe: Strasbourg. ISBN 2-7468-0625-8 (This is an official history—see p. 3.)
  4. ^ 2014 Catholic Diocese of Arlington Directory pp. 12, 63.
  5. ^ 2014 Catholic Diocese of Arlington Directory p. iv.
  6. ^ Andreassi, p. 5.
  7. ^ "Diocese of Arlington" Accessed November 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Neb. diocese is lone U.S. holdout on allowing altar girls". USA Today. March 22, 2006. Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  9. ^ "Virginia's two dioceses release lists of clergy credibly accused of abuse". Catholic News Herald. Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. February 15, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  10. ^ Burbidge, Michael (February 15, 2019). "Priests Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor". Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "A priest who spent three years as a chaplain and teacher at Magdalen College in Warner admitted yesterday to sexually".
  12. ^ "Crime Scene - Priest sentenced for molesting girl, 11".
  13. ^ Raby, John (November 29, 2018). "West Virginia diocese releases names of accused priests". AP NEWS. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  14. ^ "West Virginia diocese releases names of accused priests". Associated Press. November 29, 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Former priest in Northern Virginia charged with sexual abuse". WTOP. March 16, 2020.
  16. ^ "Statement of Councilmember Grosso on indictment of former Virginia clergyman". David Grosso, Chairperson, Education Committee.
  17. ^ Bonk, Valerie (January 23, 2022). "Catholic Diocese of Arlington instructs its schools to follow Virginia mask exemption order". WTOP.
  18. ^ Andreassi, p. 37.
  19. ^ "Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington". CCDA.
  20. ^ "An Archduchess Among Us". Northern Kentucky University. Archived from the original on February 9, 2015.


External links[edit]