WASHINGTON (September 15, 2003) -– Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Bishop Walter F. Sullivan of Richmond and appointed Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, as Apostolic Administrator of Richmond.
Msgr. Leopoldo Girelli, Chargé d' Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, made the announcement.
Walter F. Sullivan was born in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 1928. He studied at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, and the Catholic University of America in Washington, where he earned a degree in Canon Law. He was ordained a priest of the Richmond diocese on May 9, 1953. Appointed Titular Bishop of Selsey and Auxiliary Bishop of Richmond, October 15, 1970, he was named the eleventh Bishop of Richmond, on May 28, 1974.
Bishop Sullivan is former President of Pax Christi-USA, the national Catholic peace movement. He serves on the boards of the Christian Children's Fund based in Richmond; the Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy in Washington, D.C.; the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy; and the Catholic Committee of Appalachia. He has been a board member of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities and served on the Administrative Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Diocese of Richmond, one of the oldest in the country, was formerly part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. It comprises the southern part of Virginia, approximately three-fifths of the State. It has a Catholic population of 213,528 in a total population of 4.7 million.
Cardinal Keeler was appointed Archbishop of Baltimore in 1989 and was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1994. He was president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference (now United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) from 1992 to 1995.