September 3, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 22
St. Joseph’s, Petersburg: The congregation at the installation liturgy
Priest’s installation seen as ‘sign of new hope’
B ishop Francis X. DiLorenzo told parishioners of St. Joseph’s Church in Petersburg that as a Catholic community, “you have a very positive future.”
He made his remarks in the homily Aug. 19 at the 10 a.m. Mass in which he installed Father Brian Capuano as the new pastor of the inner city church whose history dates back to 1842.
Acknowledging that the city of Petersburg has had hard financial times the past few decades, Bishop DiLorenzo said he sees the city as having new hope.
“The Diocese of Richmond wants to be part of that,” he said.
“We want you to realize that here at St. Joseph’s, there is new hope, new energy and new direction and that the new leadership here is a sign of things to come,” Bishop DiLorenzo continued.
“By my sending Father Brian here, I want to show you it is a sign of hope for your parish and for the Diocese of Richmond.”
Father Capuano, who grew up in nearby Chesterfield County, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Richmond in June 2011. His only previous assignment as a priest was at St. Bridget Parish in Richmond where he was parochial vicar.
Father Brian Capuano and Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo on the altar after Mass
As part of the installation rite, Father Capuano made an oath of fidelity to Pope Benedict XVI and the magisterium, the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. He described it as “an external expression to the Church which is publicly manifest in what we acknowledge in the profession of faith.”
The new pastor celebrates Mass each morning at 8 a.m. in the chapel of the former convent of St. Joseph’s School. Because of the small size of the chapel, only two classes per day are able to attend.
The parish school opened Aug. 20 with an enrollment of 166 students. The enrollment shows a 28 percent increase from last year’s enrollment.
“The children and parents love Father Capuano,” said Pamela Hartnett, principal of the school. “Many parents have remarked that it is nice to have a priest’s daily presence at the school.”
St. Joseph’s Church which was built in 1894, on Washington Street in downtown Petersburg
St. Joseph’s School students attended an all-school Mass on Friday, Aug. 24 at the church.
“Father Capuano starts here, the altar boys are dressed in their vestments and then the whole student body and faculty proceed five blocks to the church through downtown Petersburg,” Miss Hartnett said.
St. Joseph’s Parish has 459 registered families and 882 individual parishioners. The numbers have increased over the past two years.
“Our parish, as well as the surrounding area, is in the midst of a resurgence,” said Walter Dane, a longtime St. Joseph’s parishioner and past chair of the parish pastoral council. “We are seeing growth in programs, school enrollment and most importantly, in the spiritual health of our parish.
“Father Capuano is a great fit, bringing his enthusiasm for continued growth. He is wise beyond his years with a deep understanding of Catholic tradition.
“Father Capuano’s installation Mass, celebrated by Bishop DiLorenzo, was standing room only!”