Brian T. Olszewski, The Catholic Virginian

Bishop Barry C. Knestout wants each member of the Diocese of Richmond to be a star — not in the celebrity sense, but in the words of St. Paul: “Shine like stars in the world, as you hold fast to the word of life” (Phil 2:15-16).

In a Sept. 27 letter to the faithful, the bishop announced plans for the diocese’s bicentennial in 2020 and why he chose that passage as the motto for the commemoration, which will run from Jan. 19, 2020 to Jan. 19, 2021. The Diocese of Richmond was erected July 11, 1820.

“When we look at the stars, we are actually looking back in time, to the moment when light from those celestial bodies began traveling to our present location,” he wrote. “Stars also provide guidance for navigation.”

He noted that the diocese’s bicentennial celebration would be like that: Providing a look at the past while charting a course for the future.

Bishop Knestout said the text from Philippians illuminates communion and mission — “two vital forces at work in each local Church.”

“Communion refers to the bonds of fellowship that unite members of the Church to God and to one another,” he wrote. “Mission designates the purpose of the Church, which is to proclaim the Good News of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ to all people. Communion keeps the Church intact; mission enables the Church to grow.”

According to the bishop, aspects of the commemoration already being planned are special, diocesan-wide Masses; pilgrimages to historic churches; service opportunities; education in multi-media formats; competitions to design a bicentennial logo and compose a hymn; and publication of a commemorative book.

A Eucharistic Congress — which Bishop Knestout described as the “centerpiece” of the commemoration — will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 6 and 7, 2020, at the Richmond Convention Center.

The bishop’s letter, calendar of bicentennial events, and the bicentennial prayer, in both English and Spanish, are below.