DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon retired this past December, one month after citing ongoing health challenges in a request for early retirement.
Lennon said he'd been diagnosed with vascular dementia.
At the time, Pope Francis appointed the Most Reverend Daniel Edward Thomas as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland. Thomas had served as the bishop of the Diocese of Toledo. According to the diocese, Thomas was chosen to administer its affairs until such time that Pope Francis made a permanent appointment.
Pope Benedict XVI named Lennon to the leadership position over nearly 700,000 Catholics in eight counties of the Diocese of Cleveland on April 4, 2006. Lennon became the 10th Bishop of the diocese at a Mass of Installation at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral shortly thereafter.
Here's a look back at his career, as chronicled by the Diocese:
- Bishop Lennon attended Boston College before entering St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts where he received Master of Arts degrees in church history and sacramental theology.
- Bishop Lennon was ordained to the priesthood in May 1973 and served in the Archdiocese of Boston as a parish priest, fire department chaplain, assistant for canonical affairs, and rector of St. John’s Seminary.
- Ordained as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Boston on September 14, 2001, Bishop Lennon was called upon to serve there as Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese from December of 2002 to July of 2003.
- During his tenure as Bishop of Cleveland, Bishop Lennon established a vision for the Church in the diocese focusing on evangelization with an emphasis on the Gospel. Upon taking office, Bishop Lennon immediately set out to visit all of the parishes and schools in the Diocese. In 2009, he acted on years of planning work developed prior to his arrival in Cleveland and directed a diocesan reconfiguration effort aimed at strengthening the diocese for the future by ensuring diocesan resources would be shared equitably throughout the diocese.
- Other accomplishments by Bishop Lennon to improve the diocese included a major capital campaign, the institution of parish and school internal audits, and the establishment of norms on models for Catholic schools and catechetical models for children.
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland was founded in 1847. Under Lennon's leadership, it was the 23rd-largest diocese in the United States.
The diocese encompasses the counties of Cuyahoga, Summit, Lorain, Lake, Geauga, Medina, Wayne, and Ashland.