Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland (Latin: Dioecesis Clevelandensis) is a Roman Catholic diocese in the U.S. state of 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 17th-largest diocese in the United States by population, encompassing the counties of Ashland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Summit, and Wayne. The 11th and current Bishop is Nelson J. Perez. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist located in downtown Cleveland is the mother church of the diocese.

Diocese of Cleveland

Dioecesis Clevelandensis
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Coat of arms
CountryUnited States
TerritoryThe counties of Ashland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Summit and Wayne in northeastern Ohio.
Ecclesiastical provinceCincinnati
MetropolitanDennis Marion Schnurr
Area3,414 sq mi (8,840 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2016)
677,219 (24%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteLatin Rite
EstablishedApril 23, 1847 (172 years ago)
CathedralCathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Patron saintSt. John the Evangelist
Current leadership
PopeHis Holiness Francis
BishopNelson J. Perez
Vicar GeneralRev. Donald Oleksiak
Bishops emeritusAnthony Michael Pilla (Bishop Emeritus)
Roger William Gries O.S.B. (Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus)[1]

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 has 258 active priests and 1,035 nuns.[2]

Parish closings

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 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 meantime, according to canon law, the thirteen closed churches were ordered to be reopened, and be available to parishioners. On April 10, 2012, Bishop 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]


Bishops of Cleveland

  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), appointed Archbishop (ad personam) by Pope Pius XII in 1939
  6. Edward Francis Hoban (1945-1966), appointed Archbishop (ad personam) by Pope Pius XII in 1951
  7. Clarence George Issenmann (1966-1974)
  8. James Aloysius Hickey (1974–1980), appointed Archbishop of Washington (elevated to Cardinal in 1988)
  9. Anthony Michael Pilla (1980-2006)
  10. Richard Gerard Lennon (2006-2016)
  11. Nelson Jesus Perez (2017–present)[6]

Coadjutor Bishops

  1. Edward Francis Hoban (1942-1945)
  2. Clarence George Issenmann (1964-1966)

Auxiliary Bishops

  1. Joseph Maria Koudelka (1907-1911), appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee and later Bishop of Superior
  2. James A. McFadden (1922-1943), appointed Bishop of Youngstown
  3. William Michael Cosgrove (1943-1968), appointed Bishop of Belleville
  4. John Raphael Hagan (1946)
  5. Floyd Lawrence Begin (1947-1962), appointed Bishop of Oakland
  6. John Joseph Krol (1953-1961), appointed Archbishop of Philadelphia (elevated to Cardinal in 1967)
  7. Clarence George Issenmann (1954-1957), appointed Bishop of Columbus and later Coadjutor Bishop and Bishop of Cleveland
  8. Clarence Edward Elwell (1962-1968), appointed Bishop of Columbus
  9. John Francis Whealon (1961-1966), appointed Bishop of Erie and later Archbishop of Hartford
  10. Gilbert Ignatius Sheldon (1976-1992), appointed Bishop of Steubenville
  11. Michael Joseph Murphy (1976-1978), appointed Bishop of Erie
  12. James Anthony Griffin (1979-1983), appointed Bishop of Columbus
  13. James Patterson Lyke O.F.M. (1979-1990), appointed Archbishop of Atlanta
  14. Anthony Michael Pilla (1979-1980), appointed Bishop of Cleveland
  15. Anthony Edward Pevec (1982-2001)
  16. Alexander James Quinn (1983-2008)
  17. Martin John Amos (2001-2006), appointed Bishop of Davenport
  18. Roger William Gries O.S.B., (2001-2013)

Other Affiliated Bishops

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):

High schools

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

Closed schools

Catholic radio stations

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

See also


  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.

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