The Bishop Keane Institute, a ministry of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, takes its name and animating spirit from the fifth bishop of Richmond and the founding rector of Catholic University, John J. Keane (1839 – 1918). Bishop Keane lived and ministered to the Church in a time of profound growth and change, much like our own. He embodied a profound commitment to education – to faith seeking understanding – and he worked tirelessly to provide those opportunities at every level: for children, university students, the laity, and his priests.
As Bishop, he constantly reached out and crossed boundaries. He was the first Catholic bishop in Virginia to minister actively to African Americans. He promoted ecumenical understanding by preaching in Protestant churches, colleges, and local courthouses. Bishop Keane saw beyond the narrow debates around Church and State to a society fully capable of integrating its religious communities, and he worked to end the crisis of alcohol abuse that devastated immigrant communities in his time. His commitment to Christ revealed itself in Bishop Keane’s truly catholic worldview – that the experience of Christ leads us to engage with the world and its needs, in every place and every time.
The Bishop Keane Institute takes as its mission the furthering of that relationship with Christ and the commitment to the world that flows from it. The Institute serves as a gathering place for learning, conversation, and community. Our primary effort, the Bishop Keane Institute Lecture Series, brings the leading voices in Catholic thought, ministry, and education to Hampton, VA as a way of engaging and energizing our community in Hampton Roads to participate fully in the mission of Christ’s Church. This effort is supported by ongoing education, a dynamic website and online resources, as well as prayer and community involvement. The Institute strives to inspire, in the words of Bishop Keane,“a new and abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit of grace and truth in our age and our country, for the sanctification of the new epoch in the history of the Church and the world, which all can see unfolding.”
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