Former Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon remembered through calm, controversy

Was given a tough job to do.

Former Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon remembered through calm, controversy
funeral Mass for Bishop emeritus Richard Lennon at 11 a.m. Nov. 5 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 1007 Superior Ave., Cleveland. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Bishop Richard Lennon is lying in state at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist before he is laid to rest on Tuesday.

“My health has declined to such an extent that I should resign as diocesan Bishop,” is how Lennon announced his decision to retire.

It was a decision that Lennon had struggled with for some time.

After heart surgery, he began losing his place in Mass, he told 19 News reporter Paul Orlousky at the time.

While Lennon was the target of criticism in church closings, he also listened to those who disagreed.

He listened to the faithful at St. James in Lakewood. The same at St. Peters downtown, St. Casimir’s and seven other churches as well.

The goal of the closings was to build stronger parishes with more people and more ministries than struggling churches.

His reopening came with a firm caution.

“It will be essential for each of these parishes to demonstrate on an ongoing basis that they have the active membership and financial wherewithal to sustain themselves,” he warned.

To date, it seems to be working. None of the once-closed parishes have closed again.

He will be entombed in the mortuary chapel at the Cathedral of St. John where he presided for a decade along with every Bishop who has served Cleveland.

The exception is James Hickey, who was elevated to Archbishop of Washington, D.C. and is buried there.

Outside the tomb will be his crest carrying his motto in Latin: “Delagamos non Invicim.”

In English, it translates to, “Let us love one another.”

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