Vincent Leonard

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Styles of
Vincent Leonard
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop
Posthumous style none

Vincent Martin Leonard (December 11, 1908 – August 28, 1994) was an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1969 to 1983.


Vincent Leonard's Coat of Arms circa June 1969.jpg

Vincent Leonard was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of nine children of Francis and Catherine (née Dolan) Leonard.[1] His father worked in the steel mills.[1] He was raised in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and received his early education at the parochial school of St. Brigid Church.[2] After graduating from Duquesne University Preparatory School, he studied at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and then at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe.[3]

Leonard was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Hugh C. Boyle on June 16, 1935.[4] His first assignment was as assistant chaplain at Mercy Hospital, where he remained for two years.[3] From 1937 to 1950, he was resident chaplain of Allegheny County Home and Woodville State Hospital.[2] He was later named assistant chancellor (1950), chancellor (1951), and vicar general (1959) of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.[1] In addition to these duties, he was pastor of St. Patrick Church in the Strip District (1955–67) and of St. Philip Church in Crafton (1967–69).[1] He was named a domestic prelate by Pope Pius XII in 1952.[3]

On February 28, 1964, Leonard was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh and Titular Bishop of Arsacal by Pope Paul VI.[4] He received his episcopal consecration on the following April 21 from Bishop John Wright, with Bishops Richard Henry Ackerman and William G. Connare serving as co-consecrators.[4] He selected as his episcopal motto: Ut Christum Lucrifaciam ("That I may gain Christ").[5]

After Bishop Wright was named to head the Congregation for the Clergy, Leonard was appointed the ninth Bishop of Pittsburgh on June 1, 1969.[4] During his tenure, he became one of the first bishops in the United States to make his diocesan financial reports public, and established a due-process system to allow Catholics to appeal any administrative decision they believed was a violation of canon law.[1] In 1974, he threatened three priests with disciplinary action for giving Communion in the hand when it was not yet permitted in the United States.[1] He also served on the Pro-Life Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and on the Health Affairs Committee of the United States Catholic Conference.[3]

Leonard resigned as Bishop of Pittsburgh on June 30, 1983, due to arthritis.[6] He later died from pneumonia at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home in Pittsburgh, at age 85.[3] He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "BISHOP LEONARD DIES". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1994-08-29. 
  2. ^ a b O'Neil, Thomas (1969-06-05). "Leonard To Succeed Wright". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Saxon, Wolfgang (1994-07-30). "Obituary". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b c d Cheney, David M. "Bishop Vincent Martin Leonard". [self-published source]
  5. ^ "Bishop's Life On Coat Of Arms". Pittsburgh Press. 1964-04-10. 
  6. ^ "PITTSBURGH BISHOP, AILING, RETIRES". Philadelphia Inquirer. 1983-07-07. 
  7. ^ "Former Diocesan Bishops". Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. 

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Joseph Wright
Bishop of Pittsburgh
1969 — 1983
Succeeded by
Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua