Monday, December 21, 2009

Archbishop Schnurr succeeds Archbishop Pilarczyk in Cincinnati

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Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, 75, as head of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, 61.

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Cincinnati Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr waves after concelebrating a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Cincinnati in this Dec. 7, 2008, file photo. - CNS photo/Tony Tribble, Catholic Telegraph
The resignation and succession were announced at the Vatican Dec. 21.

Pope Benedict named Archbishop Schnurr coadjutor archbishop of Cincinnati Oct. 17, 2008. As coadjutor, he automatically becomes head of the archdiocese upon Archbishop Pilarczyk's retirement.

Archbishop Pilarczyk turned 75 in August, the age at which bishops are required by church law to submit their resignations to the pope. He had been archbishop for 27 years, longer than any other currently serving archbishop in the United States.

He said the archdiocese "is blessed to be getting such a skilled, dedicated and spiritual pastor" as Archbishop Schnurr. "'Floreat,'" Archbishop Pilarczyk added. "May he flourish."

His successor was bishop of Duluth, Minn., for seven years until being named to his new job. In the past year Archbishop Schnurr has maintained a heavy schedule of activities taking him to all corners of archdiocese.

The Cincinnati Archdiocese has almost 500,000 Catholics, covers 19 counties in southwest Ohio, and has 220 parishes and 113 primary and secondary schools.

"One year ago, when Pope Benedict XVI appointed me coadjutor archbishop of Cincinnati, I was humbled and honored," Archbishop Schnurr said.

"Today, after having had the opportunity to visit so many of our parishes, schools, and other institutions over the past months, I feel even more grateful and privileged," he said. "The welcome has been overwhelming, and I look forward to working with our priests, deacons, religious and laypeople in building upon the solid foundation of faith that is so evident in our communities."

Before being named to Duluth in 2001 by Pope John Paul II, then-Msgr. Schnurr served for six years as the general secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops-U.S. Catholic Conference in Washington, now called the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

He played a major role shepherding efforts to combine the twin conferences into the USCCB. The name change and new statutes reorganizing the bishops' national structures took effect in July 2001.

In 1993 he organized World Youth Day in Denver, which brought Pope John Paul II to the United States.

A native of Sheldon, Iowa, Archbishop Schnurr was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, in 1974. He studied for the priesthood at the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1980, he earned a doctorate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington.

In the Sioux City Diocese, he served in several parish assignments and as vice chancellor and chancellor. He was subsequently assigned to the staff of the apostolic nuncio in 1985 in Washington, where he gave advice on canon law, monitored financial affairs and researched issues of interest to the church.

Then-Father Schnurr joined the bishops' conference in 1989 as associate general secretary and was elected general secretary in 1995.

Archbishop Pilarczyk was named archbishop of Cincinnati Oct. 30, 1982. He also served as president of the U.S. bishops' conference in 1989-92 and as vice president in 1986-89. He also served as a consultant to the U.S. bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

He has been chairman of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative since 2003. Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago launched the initiative shortly before his death in 1996 in an effort to end polarization in the U.S. church and bring reconciliation and healing.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Archbishop Pilarczyk holds a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome and a doctorate in classics from the University of Cincinnati. He was ordained a priest of the Cincinnati Archdiocese Dec. 20, 1959.

He served the archdiocese as chancellor and was on the faculty of St. Gregory Seminary. He was named an auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati in 1974.

He has written more than a dozen popular books and many pamphlets and articles. His commentary on the daily Mass readings is heard on Catholic radio stations around the country, on the Sirius/XM Satellite network and online at http://franciscanradio.org/sharingtheword.

In retirement, he will continue to live in Cincinnati and celebrate the sacraments. Catholic Spirit
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