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 Northern Ohio.
Ecclesiastical province Cincinnati
Metropolitan Cincinnati
Area 3,414 sq mi (8,840 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2006)
797,898 (28%)
Parishes 185
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established April 23, 1847 (168 years ago)
Cathedral Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Patron saint St. John the Evangelist
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon
Metropolitan Archbishop Dennis Marion Schnurr
Emeritus Bishops 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. It was erected on April 23, 1847 by Pope Pius IX. The diocese lost territory in 1910 when the Diocese of Toledo was erected by Pope Pius X, and in 1943 when the Diocese of Youngstown was erected by Pope Pius XII. 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.

There are about 710,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Cleveland, which contains 185 parishes, 22 Catholic high schools, 3 Catholic hospitals, 3 universities, 2 shrines (St. Paul Shrine Church and St. Stanislaus Church), and 2 seminaries (Centers for Pastoral Leadership). The diocese's cathedral is the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, located in downtown Cleveland. As of January 1, 2012, there were 257 active priests and 500 nuns in the diocese.

Parish closings[edit]

On Saturday, March 14, 2009, it was announced that 52 parishes in the diocese would be closed or merged (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.[2] A number of parish schools in the diocese were also closed or merged due to declining enrollment, and financial difficulties.[3]

As of Sunday July 4, 2010, there were 173 parishes in the diocese. 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 the Saturday Vigil Mass on Saturday March 14, 2009, and at all Sunday Masses on Sunday March 15, 2009. Hardest hit by the closings were downtown Cleveland, downtown Akron, downtown Lorain, and downtown Elyria. Parishioners of twelve of the parishes then sent appeals to the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome.

On March 8, 2012, the Vatican overturned 12 of the church closings (9 in the Greater Cleveland area, 1 in Lorain and 2 in Akron) because the Vatican says that Bishop Richard Gerard 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 12 closed churches were ordered to be reopened, and be available to parishioners. On April 10, 2012, Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon announced that he was not going to appeal the decision of the Vatican to the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, thus paving the way for the 12 churches to be reopened. This mandate was implemented starting on June 10, 2012, raising the number of parishes in the diocese from 173 parishes to 185 parishes.


The Diocese of Cleveland has had ten 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 (since 2006)

† died

Auxiliary Bishops[edit]

The Diocese of Cleveland has had numerous Auxiliary Bishops:

  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

† died

In recent years, each Auxiliary Bishop has been assigned to a region in the Diocese—Bishop Gries in the Center City and Eastern Regions, and Bishop Amos was in the Akron Region until his appointment to Davenport. Bishop Edward Pevec governed the Eastern Region until his retirement in 2001.

Affiliated Bishops[edit]

Additionally, the following men began the service as priests in the Diocese of Cleveland (the years in parenthesis refer to their years in Cleveland):

† died

High schools[edit]

A listing of all Catholic high schools in the Diocese. Note that not all are actually operated by the Diocese.

Closed schools[edit]

Catholic radio stations[edit]

  • WCCR AM 1260 "The Rock" is an EWTN-affiliated Radio Station broadcasting 24/7 throughout the Cleveland Diocese (with streaming audio)
  • WILB "Living Bread Radio" 1060 AM,a daytimer in Canton (with streaming audio)
  • WVSG "St. Gabriel Radio"" 820 AM in Columbus (the former WOSU (AM)) which can be heard in portions of the Diocese,plus an audiostream and podcasts.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

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