Eighty-five years of improving the lives and children and their families. The Barry Robinson Center’s mission focus remains clear, and its good work continues to expand throughout the local community and beyond.
The Center marked this milestone anniversary with a community Mass on Friday, December 7, 2018. The Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, presided at the Mass.
Chuck McPhillips, chair of the Center’s Board of Trustees, welcomed the guests. He offered a special greeting to the “Barry Boys,” graduates of a high school on the campus in the 1960s and 70s. Many of the Barry Boys stay in touch with the Center and often return for special events.
McPhillips also noted that Bishop Knestout is the fifth bishop to visit the Center since its founding Mass on December 8, 1933. At the dedication that day, Bishop Andrew J. Brennan presided over the opening of the James Barry Robinson Home for Boys.
Rob McCartney, the Center’s CEO, spoke about the significance of the event being celebrated on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
“Our residential program is completely focused on kids from military families. These kids have become our niche in the community,” he said.
McCartney also referenced the Center’s return to its faith-based roots, which occurred in 2007 when it was recognized by the Diocese as an independent Catholic institution. The Center welcomes boys and girls ages 6-17 of all faiths and backgrounds.
“I start to smile when someone asks me why we’re successful. I believe it’s because we moved back to our Catholic roots,” McCartney said, recognizing the work of the Center’s spiritual life coordinators in recent years. “The spiritual piece is pretty amazing to watch.”
Bishop Knestout’s welcome remarks recalled some of the Center’s history, and he commended the staff for its dedication to helping young people.
Several residents participated in the service, including reading Scripture and Scout Troop 397 presenting the colors. The Voices of Pride choir sang, and several residents shared a praise dance.
During his homily, the Bishop spoke about the holiday season and people’s response of hope, joy and love.
“The beauty of the Advent season is about God’s love for us and God with us,” he said. “The Barry Robinson Center offers hope, joy and love to its residents.”