John C. Reiss

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The Most Rev. John Charles Reiss
Bishop Emeritus of Trenton
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton (emeritus)
In office April 22, 1980—July 1, 1997
Predecessor George W. Ahr
Successor John Mortimer Smith
Ordination May 31, 1947
Consecration December 12, 1967
Personal details
Born (1922-05-13)May 13, 1922
Red Bank, New Jersey, U.S.
Died March 4, 2012(2012-03-04) (aged 89)
Lawrenceville, New Jersey, U.S.
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Trenton (1967–1980)
Styles of
John C. Reiss
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style not applicable

John Charles Reiss (May 13, 1922 – March 4, 2012)[1] was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Trenton from 1980 to 1997.


John Charles Reiss was born in Red Bank, New Jersey and studied at the Catholic University of America, and at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, New Jersey.[2] He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop William A. Griffin May 31, 1947.[3] After serving as an associate pastor, he became master of ceremonies and secretary to Bishop George W. Ahr in 1953.[2]

In 1954, Reiss earned a doctorate in canon law from Catholic University.[4] for his thesis entitled The Time and Place of Sacred Ordination: A Historical Synopsis and a Commentary, which was subsequently published by the Catholic University of America Press. Following his return to the Diocese of Trenton, he served as Assistant Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and official of the Diocesan Tribunal.[2] He was named a Domestic Prelate of His Holiness in October 1963, and pastor of St. Francis Church in Trenton in 1965.[2]

On October 21, 1967, Reiss was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Trenton and Titular Bishop of Simidicca by Pope Paul VI.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 12 from Bishop Ahr, with Bishops Walter W. Curtis and James J. Hogan serving as co-consecrators.[3] Reiss was later named the eighth Bishop of Trenton by Pope John Paul II on March 11, 1980, and was installed on the following April 22.[3] He was the first native son of the Trenton Diocese to become its ordinary.[2]

Reiss presided at the centennial of the Diocese in August 1981.[2] In November 1981, the Diocese was divided and the Diocese of Metuchen was established to serve the Catholics of Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren counties. During his tenure as Bishop, Reiss also established the Emmaus program of priestly spirituality in 1982; implemented Renew, a process of lay spiritual renewal, between 1985 and 1987; held the Fourth Diocesan Synod (the first in 60 years) from January to December 1991; raised $38 million between 1992 and 1995 to provide financial stability for diocesan services through Faith-In-Service, a diocesan capital and endowment fund campaign; dedicated a new Morris Hall, with St. Joseph Hall Skilled Nursing Center and St. Mary Hall Residence, in 1994; dedicated Villa Vianney, a residence for retired priests, in 1995; and completed a new Diocesan Pastoral Center, tripling the size of the diocesan office building, in 1997.[2]

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Reiss resigned as Bishop on June 30, 1997. He was succeeded by John Mortimer Smith. He died in 2012, aged 89 in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.


  1. ^ DiSanto, Lauren (4 March 2012). "Eighth Bishop of Trenton Dies". NBC 10 Philadelphia. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Retired Bishop John C. Reiss". Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Bishop John Charles Reiss". [self-published source]
  4. ^ "Bishop Smith Succeeds Bishop Reiss; Msgr. Brucato Is New York Auxiliary". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 1997-06-30. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
George W. Ahr
Bishop of Trenton
Succeeded by
John Mortimer Smith