The Most Reverend Walter F. Sullivan, D.D., Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, died on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at the age of 84. Bishop Sullivan was born on June 10, 1928, in Washington, D.C., to Walter Francis Sullivan and Catherine Vanderloo. He was educated at Blessed Sacrament in Washington, D.C., St. Charles College in Cantonsville, Md., and St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Md. Bishop Sullivan was ordained to the priesthood on May 9, 1953, in Richmond. He studied canon law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and received his degree in 1960. He became Secretary of the Diocesan Tribunal in May of that year. The then Father Sullivan was named Chancellor of the Diocese in February, 1965, and Rector of the Cathedral in October of 1967. He was ordained an auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese on December 1, 1970, and was installed as the Bishop of the newly redrawn Diocese of Richmond on July 19, 1974. His pastoral assignments in the Diocese of Richmond included, Associate pastor at St. Andrew's Parish in Roanoke and St. Mary's Parish in Fort Monroe (Hampton), and rector and pastor at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, Virginia. Bishop Sullivan served on the boards of the Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy in Washington, D.C., the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and on numerous diocesan boards. He has been on the boards of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities, the Christian Children's Fund based in Richmond, the Catholic Committee of Appalachia and on the Administrative Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Likewise, he served as the Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Patricia Gaw, of Gaithersburg, Md., and is survived by his sisters, Kathleen McGowan, of Richmond and Betty Hughes, of Rockville, Md., and their families.
Bishop Sullivan's body will lie in state at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 800 South Cathedral Place, beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, with the Office of the Dead being prayed at 6:30 p.m. in the presence of the Ecumenical Community and all who wish to attend.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 19, 2012, in the Cathedral with Entombment following in the Cathedral Crypt. Please remember Bishop Sullivan and his family in your prayers.
This obituary was originally published in the Roanoke Times.