Brian T. Olszewski, The Catholic Virginian

Bishop-designate Barry C. Knestout received a rousing reception from some of the youngest members of the flock he will shepherd as he visited Our Lady of Lourdes School, Richmond, Wednesday, Dec. 5 — the day Pope Francis named him the 13th bishop of the Diocese of Richmond.

The bishop was greeted at the doors of the school by the principal, Kelly Taylor, and the assistant principal, Carey Jacobsen, along with student council members, and other students.

First-grader Watson Hicks excitedly asked, “Are you the new bishop?”

When Bishop Knestout said he was, the student replied, “I knew it! Your picture is in our school!”

Students, some holding signs of welcome, some reaching out to shake his hand, lined the corridors of the school and sang “The Lord’s Prayer” as the bishop walked by.

His first stop was a classroom in which Kathleen Hill’s first graders and Jane Davis’ fifth graders — the younger students’ “prayer buddies” — had gathered for religion class.

Hicks explained to the bishop the role of prayer buddies.

“They help us at church, when we’re squirming around, and help us with prayers,” he said.

The students, joined by Bishop Knestout and Msgr. Mark Richard Lane, administrator of the diocese, sang “Yes, Lord, I Believe.” This was followed by Hill’s catechesis about Advent.

Students at Our Lady of Lourdes School, Richmond, line the corridor as they greet Bishop-designate Barry C. Knestout on his visit Tuesday, Dec. 5 — the day Pope Francis named him bishop of Richmond.

Visiting the fourth-grade students of Emily Gillikan and Marisa Trible, Bishop Knestout heard from Eddie Rios and Anna Bero, who spoke about the service projects they do, e.g., raising money for hurricane relief, collecting socks for the homeless, and providing

“The service you described is very important … a key aspect of our lives as Christians and Catholics is that we always be aware of that charity and always manifest and express it in our lives and activities,” Bishop Knestout told the students.

Thanking them for what they have undertaken, he added, “It’s wonderful work you’re doing; it’s a tangible way of expressing the same charity we receive from God and sharing it with others.”

Our Lady of Lourdes fourth-graders Anna Bero, standing, and Eddie Bero, seated, and their classmates listen as Bishop-designate Barry C. Knestout talks about charity and thanks the students for the works of charity they do. The bishop visited three classrooms at the school, Tuesday, Dec. 5.

The school portion of his visit ended with a stop in an eighth-grade religion class where the school’s religion coordinator, Robyn Dahl, explained they had been discussing the Church’s nine ecumenical councils, including the Council of Constantinople, where discussion about the natures of Jesus were debated.

“That’s important because the Church struggled with that — providing clarity in the divine and human nature of Jesus,” the bishop told the students. “He is fully human, fully divine at the same time. They embraced both at the same time; he’s not one or the other. We hold those two truths at the same time.”

Following his visit to the school, Bishop Knestout met with parish staff and a small group of parishioners that had gathered in the parish hall.