Saturday, June 01, 2002

Conlon becomes Steubenville bishop

Steubenville post filled from archdiocese

By Richelle Thompson,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        An Archdiocese of Cincinnati priest will head to Steubenville to serve as bishop of the diocese's 46,000 Roman Catholics.

        Pope John Paul II named the Rev. R. Daniel Conlon on Friday as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville in eastern Ohio. The native Cincinnatian succeeds the Most Rev. Gilbert Sheldon, who submitted his resignation to the pope last fall after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.

        The announcement was bittersweet for colleagues and for Father Conlon's congregation, Holy Redeemer parish in New Bremen, Ohio, where he's served since 1996.

        Those who attended Friday's Mass at Holy Redeemer were excited for their priest, said Nick Wilker, music director at the parish about 60 miles north of Dayton.

        “But there's also a sadness he's leaving because he's a very well-respected pastor.”

        Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk said Father Conlon's experience in administration and leadership will be a blessing to the Steubenville diocese.

        “I regret that we will be losing Father Conlon,” Archbishop Pilarczyk said in a written statement. “He has served well and generously here both in administrative as well as pastoral roles. We will miss his insights and his willingness to express his views in many different contexts.”

        Father Conlon is the sixth living bishop to have served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Ordained in 1977, he spent nearly half his career in administrative offices. Father Conlon was chancellor and director of executive services from 1987 to 1996, at a time when sex abuse allegations against former priest George Cooley became public.

        Linda Reekers remembered Father Conlon from his first appointment in the late 1970s at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Anderson Township.

        “He was very well-liked at the parish. Real easygoing and always friendly,” said Ms. Reekers, parish office manager. “I think he'll be a great (bishop).”


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