Bishop Barry C. Knestout was born and raised in Maryland. One of nine children, he lived with his family in Ankara, Turkey for four years as a child, then grew up in Bowie, Maryland, where he attended both Catholic and public schools. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Maryland in December 1984. He began his seminary studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1985 and was ordained a priest in June 1989.
After ordination, Bishop Knestout served as a parochial vicar at two parishes, St. Bartholomew in Bethesda (1989-1993) and St. Peter in Waldorf (1993-1994) before being named priest-secretary to Cardinal James A. Hickey in 1994. He continued in that role until the cardinal’s death in 2004, also serving as priest-secretary to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick in 2001 and from 2003 to 2004.
Named a Monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1999, Bishop Knestout was executive director of the Office of Youth Ministry/CYO from 2001-2003 and became pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring in 2004. In October 2006, he returned to the central administration of the archdiocese to serve as Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns. Less than two years later, in April 2007, he was named moderator of the curia. In this role, as the “chief of staff” for the archdiocese’s central offices, he assists Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl in managing and overseeing all administrative affairs.
He is a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the Order of Malta and a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. He serves on the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council, the Archdiocesan Finance Council and the College of Consultors. In addition, he has been a member of the Archdiocesan Building Commission since 1991 and the Archdiocesan Sacred Arts Commission since 1994. He is a member of the Administrative Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference and the Episcopal Moderator of the American Catholic Correctional Chaplains Association. He also serves as the Region IV representative on the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, as well as the Episcopal Liaison to the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference.
He was co-chair of the Papal Visit Planning Committees in 2008 and 2015, managing many of the preparations for the historic April 2008 and September 2015 visits to Washington, DC by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. With his training in architecture, he oversaw contests for architecture students from The Catholic University of America to design the papal altar and chair used at the Papal Masses celebrated at Nationals Park and at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.