John Joseph Leibrecht

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Styles of
John Leibrecht
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style not applicable

John Joseph Leibrecht (born August 8, 1930) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau from 1984 to 2008.

Early life and ministry[edit]

John Leibrecht was born in Overland, Missouri, to John and Ellen (née Begley) Leibrecht. His parents were of German and Irish descent, and one brother also became a priest. He attended the Cathedral Latin School, and excelled at athletics, particularly basketball.[1] He then studied at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and Kenrick Seminary. He was ordained by Archbishop Joseph Ritter on March 17, 1956.[2]

He then served as associate pastor at St. Louis Cathedral, and furthered his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from where he earned a Ph.D. in Education in 1961. He worked in Catholic education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for twenty years, including a nine-year period as Superintendent of Education. In 1981, he became pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Florissant.[1]

Episcopal career[edit]

On October 20, 1984, Leibrecht was appointed the fifth bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau by Pope John Paul II.[2] Succeeding Bernard Law (who was promoted to Archbishop of Boston), he received his episcopal consecration on the following December 12 from Archbishop John May, with Archbishop Law and Bishop Glennon Flavin serving as co-consecrators.

In addition to his duties as diocesan bishop, he chaired the USCCB Committee on Education (1986-1989) and the Ex Corde Ecclesiae Committee on U.S. Catholic Colleges and Universities (1991-2000). He was a board member of the Catholic Health Association from 1997 to 2003, and Chairman of the Board for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University (CARA). He was a close friend of the late J. Robert Ashcroft, President of Evangel University and father of former Attorney General John Ashcroft.[1]

Upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Leibrecht submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Benedict XVI in August 2005. Pope Benedict accepted his resignation on January 24, 2008, officially ending Leibrecht's 23-year-long tenure as Bishop with the installation of his successor on March 31st of that year.


  1. ^ a b c Leicht, Linda (2008-01-24). "Bishop John Leibrecht: A life of devotion". Springfield News-Leader. 
  2. ^ a b "Bishop John Joseph Leibrecht". 
Preceded by
Bernard Francis Law
Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
Succeeded by
James Vann Johnston, Jr.