Date of death: 12/13/2022
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1980
Reverend Monsignor Joseph Patrick Lehman, III, 68, pastor of St. Bede’s Catholic Church and rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Williamsburg, Virginia, died on December 13, 2022. Father Joe, as he preferred to be called, was born on June 9, 1954, in Newport News, Virginia, but grew up in Hampton.
Father Joe attended St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic School in Phoebus (Hampton) and the vocations high school of St. John Vianney Seminary in Richmond. He was a 1976 graduate of Saint Meinrad Seminarian and School of Theology in Indiana and completed his post graduate theological studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy.
He was ordained into the priesthood of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond on August 16, 1980. As a faithful and humble priest of the Diocese of Richmond for 42 years, Fr. Joe served the following parishes: Holy Cross Catholic Church, Lynchburg (1980-1984); Holy Name of Mary, Bedford and Resurrection, Moneta (1984-1988 ); Christ the King, Norfolk(1988-1997); Our Lady of Nazareth, Roanoke (1997-2019); as associate director of St Francis of Assisi, Rocky Mount and again at Resurrection, Moneta (2005-2009); and as administrator of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Salem (2016). In addition to his parish ministry work, Fr. Joe is recognized for his ecumenical work through the Virginia LARCUM Committee, on which he served as ecumenical and interreligious officer, and the Virginia Council of Churches. In 2020, as he reflected on his 40 years as a priest, he told The Catholic Virginian “he knew growing up, he wanted to be a priest.”
He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Patrick Lehman, Jr. He is survived by his mother, Beverly Lehman of Independence, Virginia, his sisters Chris Clark, Ann Hart and Teresa Lehman, his brothers John Lehman and Tim Lehman and many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews who all loved his playful antics, boisterous outbursts and vibrant personality. He was well loved by his family, friends and the people of God that he served and will be forever missed.