This Christmas Season Brings Area Catholics a New Auxiliary Bishop

December 23, 2008

Bowie native and popular local priest Monsignor Barry C. Knestout, 46, will be ordained auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington in a traditional ceremony attended by more than 1,200 people, including his extended family, friends, parishioners, 22 cardinals and bishops and over 150 priests:

Monday, December 29, 2008
Procession: 1:45 p.m.
Mass: 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
1725 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC

Pope Benedict XVI named Monsignor Knestout as auxiliary bishop to assist Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl in the administration of the archdiocese, which includes 580,000 Catholics and 140 parishes. Bishop-elect Knestout is only the third local priest to become a bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington since the archdiocese was established in 1939. His younger brother, Fr. Mark Knestout, directs the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Washington. Both priests were instrumental in planning Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass in Washington last April.

The Mass of Ordination is steeped in tradition and history. Pope Benedict XVI’s letter of appointment will be read. Bishop-elect Knestout will commit to fulfilling the role of bishop (to teach, sanctify and rule) and will lay prostrate on the ground in humility. The 22 bishops will lay their hands on his head, welcoming him into their ranks for service to the Church. Archbishop Wuerl will pray a 3rd century prayer of consecration and anoint the new bishop’s head. Finally, he will receive the signs of his new office: the Gospel (responsibility to preach); ring (authority and marriage to the Church); miter (tall hat representing his call to be a herald of truth); and crozier (staff representing his role as spiritual shepherd).

Washington has two other active auxiliary bishops, Bishop Francisco Gonzalez, S.F. and Bishop Martin D. Holley. Bishop Leonard Olivier, S.V.D. is retired.

Bishop-elect Knestout was born in Cheverly, Maryland. One of nine children, he grew up in Bowie. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Maryland then studied for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest in June 1989. During his priesthood, he has served in three local parishes; as priest-secretary to Cardinal James A. Hickey and Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, executive director of the Office of Youth Ministry/CYO and Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns. Since April 2007, he has been moderator of the curia and vicar for administration. As “chief of staff” for the archdiocese’s offices, he assists Archbishop Wuerl in managing and overseeing all administrative affairs of the archdiocese. Bishop Knestout’s full bio is online at

Limited seating for the general public will be available.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]