Cleveland Catholic Bishop Richard Lennon dies at age 72

Plain Dealer

Oct. 29, 2019

By Cliff Pinckard

The Rev. Richard Lennon, bishop emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland for more than 10 years, died Tuesday morning at the age of 72.

Lennon was appointed the 10th bishop of the Cleveland Diocese in May 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. He served as the bishop for nearly 800,000 Catholics in Northeast Ohio. He resigned in December 2016 because of poor health. At the time of his resignation, the Diocese said Lennon suffered from vascular dementia, a cognitive impairment caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.

“In his service to the diocese, Bishop Lennon showed a deep dedication to the faithful governance of the diocese and a tremendous love of the church and the people he shepherded,” said the Rev. Nelson Perez, who has succeeded Lennon as bishop. “May the Lord grant him eternal rest.”

Lennon was born in Arlington, Mass. He attended Boston College, then earned an master of arts in church history a master of theology in sacramental theology at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass. He was ordained in the priesthood in May 1973.

Lennon is best known in Cleveland for closing about 30 churches in Northeast Ohio in 2009 and 2010, a decision that sparked fervent backlash from some of the 700,000 parishioners in the diocese. More recently, his career was marked by much-needed and successful fundraising campaigns, raising an estimated $170 million, according to the Diocese.

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