The Archdiocese of Washington received good news this morning as Pope Benedict XVI announced that he is appointing Monsignor Barry Knestout to serve as an auxiliary bishop for the 580,000 faithful in the region.
With the addition of Bishop-elect Knestout, the archdiocese, which serves Catholics in an area that includes the nation’s capitol, will have four auxiliary bishops to meet the needs of a diverse flock.
Bishop-elect Knestout was born in 1962 in Cheverly, Maryland, just southeast of Washington D.C. According to a biography on the Archdiocese of Washington’s website, the bishop-elect is one of nine children and grew up in Bowie, Maryland, with the exception of a four-year stint in Ankara, Turkey.
The newly appointed bishop attended St. Pius X elementary school and Bowie Senior High School before receiving a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Maryland in December 1984. He entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1985 to study for the priesthood and was ordained a priest in June 1989.
He currently serves as moderator of the curia and vicar for administration, a position that is best described as the “chief of staff” for the archdiocese’s central offices.
Bishop-elect Knestout was also involved in the planning for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the U.S. this past April. While serving as co-chair of the Planning Committee for the papal visit, he utilized his architectural background to help run the contest for Catholic University of America architecture students, who competed to design the altar and chair used by the Pope at Nationals Stadium.
In addition to being named an auxiliary for the Archdiocese of Washington, Msgr. Knestout has been appointed titular bishop of Leavenworth. Bishop-elect Knestout will be ordained a bishop on December 29, 2008, the Monday of Christmas week.