The Most Reverend Richard Gerard Lennon
Bishop Emeritus, Diocese of Cleveland
The Most Rev. Richard Gerard Lennon was installed as the 10th Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio on May 15, 2006. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Lennon to the leadership position over nearly 800,000 Catholics in eight counties of Northeast Ohio on April 4, 2006.
A native of the Boston area, Bishop Lennon was born in Arlington, Massachusetts and graduated from Catholic High School and then attended Boston College before entering St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts where he received an M.A. in Church History and a M.TH in 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, an 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 also was called upon to serve as Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese from December of 2002 to July of 2003 when the Vatican appointed a new Archbishop to lead in Boston.
Among the special recognitions Bishop Lennon has received; he was named a Domestic Prelate in April of 1998, installed as a Knight of Malta and as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in June of 2001.
Installed as the 10th Bishop of Cleveland on May 15, 2006, Bishop Lennon established a vision for the Church in the Diocese of Cleveland focusing upon evangelization with an emphasis on the Gospel. He also determined that the presence of the Church remain in every setting where consolidation would reduce the number parishes. The Church would be present in the Eucharist in Liturgy, in Catholic education, or in social service.
Upon taking office, the Bishop immediately set out to visit all of the parishes and schools in the Diocese. At the same time, the inherited Reconfiguration process continued with careful assessment by the parish clusters, then by the 31 member Diocesan-wide Vibrant Parish Life Committee, the 13 member Bishop’s staff, and the 25 member Diocesan Presbyteral (Priests) Council. Their recommendations to the Bishop resulted in the closing of 50 parishes and the establishment of 17 newly merged ones. Bishop Lennon presided at 78 closing, merging, and opening Masses during a period of 14 months.
Also prioritized by Bishop Lennon has been the education of pastors and parish staffs and the institution of parish internal audits, diocesan school internal audits, and the establishment of norms on models for Catholic Schools and Catechetical models for Children.
On Dec. 28, 2016 the Holy Father, Pope Francis, granted Bishop Lennon early retirement status, accepting his resignation from the pastoral governance of the diocese. Bishop Lennon made the request for early retirement in a letter to Pope Francis in late November citing his ongoing health challenges as the reason for his decision to retire.