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October 1, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 24


photo: Father John Anthony Prinelli,
Father John Anthony Prinelli,

Fr. John A. Prinelli, priest of 34 years, dies at 69

Father John Anthony Prinelli, who had been pastor of both Holy Family Parish in Pearisburg and Holy Spirit Church in Christiansburg, died Sept. 15 at Lewis-Gale Montgomery Hospital in Blacksburg. He was 69 and died from pancreatic cancer.

Born in Hackensack, N.J., he grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in classical languages in 1965.

After graduating from college, he was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam, returning after he was discharged in 1967 to that country to work as a missionary, helping to build an orphanage and teach.

He was accepted as a candidate for the priesthood by Bishop Francis X. Thuan of Nha Trang in Vietnam and in October, 1974, was sent to Rome for theology studies. Because of the political situation in Vietnam, it no longer was possible for him to serve there as a priest.

At that time, then seminarian Prinelli was advised to seek ordination in an American diocese and following discussion with Msgr. Charles A. Kelly, then vice rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome, he applied for and was accepted by the Diocese of Richmond for priestly formation.

As a seminarian, he served at St. Peter’s Church in Richmond. He was ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 12, 1978 by Bishop Walter F. Sullivan in his home parish of Our Lady of Assumption Church in Emerson, N.J.

After ordination he served in various parishes, including Our Lady of Lourdes, Richmond (1978-1982); Good Shepherd, South Hill, and St. Catherine of Siena, Clarksville (1982-1985); St. Andrew the Apostle, Chincoteague, (1985-1998), before taking his last priestly assignment at Pearisburg and Christiansburg in 1998.

While pastor of the parish in Christiansburg he helped establish the parish’s first church across from Christiansburg High School. The community previously had worshipped at the local Lutheran church.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo presided and preached at Mass of Christian Burial Sept. 18 at Holy Spirit Church in Christiansburg. Burial was held in New Jersey where Father Prinelli was buried alongside his parents.


Religious drama in Bristol to open Year of Faith

Three parishes in the southwest region of the Richmond Diocese together are hosting a dramatic performance, “The Story of Faith,” Sunday and Monday, October 14 and 15, at St. Anne Catholic Church in Bristol.

The presentations, performed by television actor Frank Runyeon, are a collaborative offering by St. Anne’s, Christ the King Church of Abingdon and St. John the Evangelist Church of Marion to kick off the Year of Faith in the Catholic Church.

The one-man dramas begin at 7 p.m. Sunday, with the story of the Sermon on the Mount. At 7:45, Mr. Runyeon will present personal stories depicting the struggle to live as a Christian “in the age of media values” in a performance entitled, “Hollywood vs Faith.”

On Monday, also at 7 p.m., he will present “Afraid! The Gospel of Mark.”

The actor is a graduate of Princeton University and Theological Seminary. He’s been sharing the story of the Gospel in live, one-man theatrical performances throughout the country for 20 years.

Parishioners from Catholic churches throughout the region, as well as non-Catholics, are invited. There is no admission charge.


Dr. Stephen Colecchi to speak at Immaculate Conception, Hampton

Dr. Stephen Colecchi, former director of the diocese’s Office of Justice and Peace, will speak on “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” on Monday, Oct. 8, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 2150 Cunningham Drive, Hampton.

The program will seek to help people make the connection between faith and politics in light of the upcoming national election.

Dr. Colecchi, who initially had served in the Diocese of Richmond at St. Joseph’s in Martinsville and St. Bridget Parish in Richmond before becoming OJP director, is now director of the Office of International Justice and Peace with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.

He will seek to answer the following questions: Can the Church tell me how to vote?, Is any political party aligned with Catholic social teaching? and Doesn’t separation of church and state mean that I leave my faith outside of the voting booth?


James Buckley to speak at Red Mass dinner Oct. 30

James L. Buckley, former U.S. senator from New York and retired Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, will be the speaker at the dinner following the annual Red Mass in Richmond.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo will preside at the Red Mass Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 5:30 p.m. at St. Benedict Church. The Red Mass is held annually to invoke the blessing of the Holy Spirit upon lawyers and judges and others in the legal profession.

Mr. Buckley will speak at the dinner to be held at the Virginia Historical Society following the Mass.

He was the lead petitioner in the Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo in which he successfully challenged the constitutionality of a law limiting campaign spending in Congressional races.

Mr. Buckley, 89, was U.S. Senator from New York from 1971 to 1977. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals and served from 1985 to 1996. He also initially served as undersecretary of State in the first Reagan administration and then as President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from 1982 to 1985.


CCC awards 10 scholarships

Commonwealth Catholic Charities has recently granted scholarships to 10 children attending eight Catholic schools in the Richmond area.

The total amount of the Karl N. and Edna L. Reidelbach Scholarships for the 2012-2013 school year is $8,000 and comes from an endowment fund.

The scholarships are need based, to be used for grade school students.

“We work closely with the school principal to identify eligible students,” said Joanne Nattrass, CCC executive director. “This is the third year that we’ve been able to award scholarships.”

Two students from each of three schools were among the scholarship recipients. These schools are Saint Benedict and Saint Mary Schools, both in Richmond, and Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Catholic School, Powhatan.

Other schools each with one student receiving a scholarship are All Saints, Our Lady of Lourdes, Saint Bridget and Saint Edward-Epiphany Schools, all of Richmond.

Notre Dame Glee Club concert set Oct. 16

The University of Notre Dame Glee Club will present a free concert on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 9505 Gayton Rd., Richmond.

Recognized as one of the “finest all male collegiate choral groups in the country,” the University of Notre Dame Glee Club has a rich history of singing and brotherhood spanning the last 97 years. Their selections will include a wide repertoire from ancient polyphony to modern pieces. A free will donation will be taken that night.


Clergy appointments

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo has announced the following clergy appointments, effective immediately:

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