Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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Diocese of Cleveland
Dioecesis Clevelandensis
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.svg
Country  United States
Territory The counties of Ashland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Summit and Wayne in northeastern Ohio.
Ecclesiastical province Cincinnati
Metropolitan Dennis Marion Schnurr
Area 3,414 sq mi (8,840 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2016)
677,219 (24%)
Parishes 185
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established April 23, 1847 (170 years ago)
Cathedral Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Patron saint St. John the Evangelist
Current leadership
Pope His Holiness Francis
Bishop Nelson Jesus Perez (Bishop-Designate)
Apostolic Administrator Daniel Edward Thomas Bishop of Toledo
Vicar General Donald Oleksiak
Emeritus Bishops Richard Gerard Lennon (Bishop Emeritus)
Anthony Michael Pilla (Bishop Emeritus)
Roger William Gries O.S.B. (Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus)[1]
Diocese of Cleveland (Ohio) map 1.jpg
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Cleveland

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland (Latin: Dioecesis Clevelandensis) is a Roman Catholic diocese in Ohio. Pope Pius IX erected the diocese April 23, 1847 in territory taken from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The diocese lost territory in 1910 when Pope Pius X erected the Diocese of Toledo, and in 1943 when Pope Pius XII erected the Diocese of Youngstown. It is currently the seventeenth largest diocese in the United States by population, encompassing the counties of Ashland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Summit, and Wayne. The Bishop-Designate is Nelson Jesus Perez, who was appointed by Pope Francis as Bishop of Cleveland on July 11, 2017. He will be officially installed as the 11th Bishop of Cleveland on September 5, 2017.

As of 2017, the Diocese had a population of approximately 677,219 Catholics and contained 185 parishes, 22 Catholic high schools, three Catholic hospitals, three universities, two shrines (St. Paul Shrine Church and St. Stanislaus Church), and two seminaries (Centers for Pastoral Leadership). The diocese's cathedral is the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, located in downtown Cleveland. It also had 258 active priests and 1,035 nuns in the diocese.[2]

Parish closings[edit]

On, March 14, 2009, the diocese announced that 52 parishes in the diocese would close or merge (29 parishes closing, 42 parishes merging to form 18 new parishes) due to the shortage of priests, declining numbers of parishioners in some parishes, the migration of Catholic populations to the suburbs and out of the city cores, and financial difficulties in some parishes.[3] A number of parish schools in the diocese also closed or merged due to declining enrollment, and financial difficulties.[4]

Letters to all of the parishes from Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon giving his decision on what parishes and schools were closing or merging, and which parishes and schools would remain open, were read to the parishioners by the church pastors at Masses the weekend of March 14–15, 2009. Hardest hit by the closings were downtown Cleveland, downtown Akron, downtown Lorain, and downtown Elyria. Parishioners of thirteen of the parishes then requested appeals from the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome.

On March 8, 2012, the Vatican overturned all thirteen of the church closings (nine in the Greater Cleveland area, one in Lorain and three in Akron) because the Vatican says that Bishop Lennon did not follow procedure or canon law in that he did not consult with the priest advisors, and he did not issue a formal mandate for the closing of the churches. In the mean time, according to canon law, the thirteen closed churches were ordered to be reopened, and be available to parishioners. On April 10, 2012, Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon announced that he would not appeal the decision of the Vatican to the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, thus paving the way for the thirteen churches to be reopened. This mandate was implemented starting on June 10, 2012, raising the number of parishes in the diocese from 172 parishes to 185 parishes.[5]


The Diocese's ordinaries:

  1. Louis Amadeus Rappe † (1847–1870)
  2. Richard Gilmour † (1872–1891)
  3. Ignatius Frederick Horstmann † (1891–1908)
  4. John Patrick Farrelly † (1909–1921)
  5. Joseph Schrembs † (1921–1945); later created archbishop ad personam by Pope Pius XII in 1939
  6. Edward Francis Hoban † (1945–1966); later created archbishop ad personam by Pope Pius XII in 1951
  7. Clarence George Issenmann † (1966–1974)
  8. James Aloysius Hickey † (1974–1980); later appointed Archbishop of Washington; elevated to Cardinal in 1988
  9. Anthony Michael Pilla (1980–2006); retired, now Bishop Emeritus
  10. Richard Gerard Lennon (2006–2016); resigned, now Bishop Emeritus
  11. Nelson Jesus Perez (appointed July 11, 2017. Will be officially installed on September 5, 2017)[6]

† deceased

Auxiliary Bishops[edit]

Several Auxiliary Bishops have served the Diocese of Cleveland:

  1. Joseph Maria Koudelka † (1907–1911) appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee
  2. James A. McFadden † (1932–1943) appointed Bishop of Youngstown
  3. Edward Francis Hoban † (Coadjutor Bishop 1942–1945) succeeded
  4. William Michael Cosgrove † (1943–1968) appointed Bishop of Belleville
  5. John Raphael Hagan † (April – September 1946)
  6. Floyd Lawrence Begin † (1947–1962) appointed Bishop of Oakland
  7. John Joseph Krol † (1953–1961) appointed Archbishop of Philadelphia, elevated to Cardinal in 1967
  8. Clarence George Issenmann † (1954–1957) appointed Bishop of Columbus
  9. Clarence Edward Elwell † (1962–1968) appointed Bishop of Columbus
  10. John Francis Whealon † (1961–1966) appointed Bishop of Erie
  11. Clarence George Issenmann † (Coadjutor Bishop 1964-1966) succeeded
  12. Gilbert Ignatius Sheldon † (1976–1992) appointed Bishop of Steubenville
  13. Michael Joseph Murphy † (1976–1978) appointed Bishop of Erie
  14. James Anthony Griffin † (1979–1983) appointed Bishop of Columbus
  15. James Patterson LykeO.F.M. (1979–1990) appointed Archbishop of Atlanta
  16. Anthony Michael Pilla (1979–1980) appointed Bishop of Cleveland, now Bishop Emeritus
  17. Anthony Edward Pevec † (1982–2001)
  18. Alexander James Quinn † (1983–2008)
  19. Martin John Amos (2001–2006) appointed Bishop of Davenport
  20. Roger William Gries O.S.B. (2001–2013) retired

† deceased

Other Affiliated Bishops[edit]

Additionally, the following bishops began their priestly ministry as priests of the Diocese of Cleveland (the years in parentheses refer to their years in Cleveland):

† deceased

High schools[edit]

A listing of all Catholic high schools within the Diocese. Note: Some schools are private, i.e., not operated by the Diocese.

Closed schools[edit]

Catholic radio stations[edit]

  • WILB AM 1060 "Living Bread Radio Network"
  • WCCR AM 1260 "The Rock"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine: Rinuncia dell’Ausiliare di Cleveland (U.S.A.)" [Waivers and Nominations: Auxiliary Waiver of Cleveland (U.S.A.)] (PDF) (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. November 1, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Fact Sheet" (PDF). Diocese of Cleveland. November 20, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Reconfiguration Plan — Q & A". Diocese of Cleveland. March 2009. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  4. ^ Diocese of Cleveland Reconfiguration Office - List of Closing/Merging Parishes. Retrieved on March 25, 2009. Archived copy at WebCite (February 15, 2013).
  5. ^ O'Malley, Michael (March 13, 2012). "Vatican reverses Cleveland Catholic Diocese's closing of 13 parishes". The Plain Dealer. Cleveland. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  6. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°28′56″N 81°40′11″W / 41.48222°N 81.66972°W / 41.48222; -81.66972