Walter Francis Sullivan

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Walter Francis Sullivan
Bishop emeritus of Richmond
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In officeJuly 19, 1974 — September 16, 2003
PredecessorJohn Joyce Russell
SuccessorFrancis X. DiLorenzo
Personal details
BornJune 10, 1928
Washington, D.C., U.S.
DiedDecember 11, 2012(2012-12-11) (aged 84)
Richmond, VA, U.S.

Walter Francis Sullivan (June 10, 1928 – December 11, 2012) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.[1] He served as the eleventh Bishop of Richmond from July 19, 1974 to September 16, 2003. From 2003 until his death, Sullivan resided in Saint Paul's Parish in Richmond and continued to be active in the diocese, assisting his successor Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo.

Early life[edit]

He was born on June 10, 1928, in Washington, D.C.

He received his seminary education at St. Charles College and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Richmond on May 9, 1953.

He served as associate pastor at St. Andrew's Parish in Roanoke and St. Mary's Parish in Fort Monroe (Hampton). In 1960, he received a degree in Canon Law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and became Secretary of the Diocesan Tribunal in May of that year.

He was named chancellor of the diocese in February 1965 and rector of the cathedral in October 1967. He was consecrated an auxiliary bishop for the diocese on December 1, 1970 and was installed as the Bishop of the newly-redrawn Diocese of Richmond on July 19, 1974.


He served on the boards of the Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy in Washington, DC; the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy; the Christian Children's Fund based in Richmond; the Catholic Committee of Appalachia; and numerous diocesan boards. He had been on the boards of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities and on the administrative board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was a national leader of the religious community's involvement in the work of justice and peace. He served as Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, from 1991 to 2001. He also served on the writing committee for the 10th anniversary statement of the US Catholic Bishops' peace pastoral, "The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace" (1993).

Coat of arms[edit]

His coat of arms of Bishop Sullivan contains the lions and the stag from the Sullivan coat of arms of Ireland, but it is differenced to make the coat of arms personal. The trefoil between the Sullivan lions is taken from the coat of arms of Bishop Russell, whom Bishop Sullivan assisted as auxiliary. The group of trees identifies the Vanderloo family of the Bishop's mother. The dexter implement contains the arms of the see.


"To Unite All in Christ". The motto is derived from the prayer of Jesus Christ for unity at the Last Supper: "That all may be one, even as thou, Father, in me and I in thee; that they may also be one in us, that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21).


  1. ^ Bishop Walter Francis Sullivan,
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Joyce Russell
Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond
Succeeded by
Francis X. DiLorenzo
Preceded by
Thomas Gumbleton
Bishop president of Pax Christi USA
Succeeded by
Gabino Zavala