August 19, 2016

Three Richmond parishes officially become St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

By Natalie Hoefer

Father Kevin MorrisThree parishes in Richmond—Holy Family, St. Andrew and St. Mary—were officially combined and named St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish on July 1.

The change came about through the Connected in the Spirit process, which called for the parishes to “be extinguished and a new parish established on July 1, 2016.”

The decree states that the new parish “will include the territory of the three former parishes, … maintain three worship sites and will be served by one pastor,” and “establish a pastoral council and finance council.”

The three parishes have been working together since about 1992 as the Richmond Catholic Community, says Father Kevin Morris, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who served as pastor of the three separate parishes since 2012.

The name for the parish was chosen in honor of the parochial school names—St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School for pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, and Seton High School for grades 7-12.

To select the name, says Father Morris, “We put out ballots for suggestions in all three churches, then we had ballots of the top 12 [choices]. Then it was down to Holy Trinity, Blessed Trinity and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.”

Those names were submitted to the archdiocese.

“I got a call from Archbishop [Joseph W.] Tobin saying they’d chosen St. Elizabeth Ann Seton since we didn’t already have one of those in the archdiocese,” says Father Morris.

There are still some legal name changes required behind the scenes, he says. But for all intents and purposes, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish is officially up and running.

The newly formed St. Elizabeth Ann Seton pastoral council has already had its first meeting. The idea was put forth of creating a new pictorial directory of all the parish members.

Overall, there has not been much change for the members of the three faith communities, particularly since each church will remain open and maintain their established Mass schedule, says Father Morris.

“We’ve been working as a community for so long, it’s just second nature,” he notes.

In fact, Father Morris is perhaps the one struggling the most with the adjustment.

“We had a wedding, and I had to sign it as pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. That felt so weird!” he says.

“And I got a letter from the archdiocese to Father Kevin Morris, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton,” he recalls. “I just looked at it for a minute and then I realized, ‘Oh yeah! That really is me!’ ”

(To see the decree regarding the establishment of the three churches in Richmond as one parish, log on to

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