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Archbishop Pilarczyk: Milestones


  • As Archbishop of Cincinnati from Dec. 20, 1982, the Most Rev. Daniel E. Pilarczyk was upon his retirement in 2009 the longest-tenured archbishop in the United States. He was its longest-serving active bishop, in recognition of which he was chosen to ask a question of Pope Benedict XVI during his May 2008 pastoral visit to the U.S
  • Archbishop Pilarczyk is the author of almost two dozen books and booklets, the royalties from which he has donated to the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. His best selling book is Twelve Tough Issues – And More. His most recent book is When God Speaks.
  • “A theologian and classicist viewed by many as the U.S. hierarchy’s smartest bulb, there’s seemingly not a national post Pilarczyk hasn’t held,” commentator Rocco Palmo wrote on his Catholic blog “Whispers in the Loggia” in December 2007. “Atop the list: board-chair of the Catholic University of America, chair of ICEL (International Committee on English in the Liturgy), chair of the bishops’ committees on Doctrine, Liturgy and Priorities and Plans – and and, of course, vice-president and president of the episcopal conference.” Palmo later (September 2008) wrote that the archbishop is “regarded by many of his confreres as the leading intellect among the US bishops.”
  • The Archbishop’s service to the broader church also includes chairmanship of the Catholic Common Ground initiative, launched by late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.
  • At a time when many dioceses have chosen or been forced to close seminaries, Archbishop Pilarczyk has presided over a seminary that has improved academically and physically. In addition to training future priests in its Mount St. Mary’s division, the Athenaeum of Ohio is also a training center for lay ministry. Its Lay Pastoral Ministry Program was one of the first in the country (1975).
  • Archbishop Pilarczyk has ordained 84 priests and three bishops. He has conferred confirmation on more than 74,000 people since he became a bishop in 1974.
  • In a proactive response to the declining number of priests available, Archbishop Pilarczyk created the “Futures Project” at the beginning of the current decade. In addition to developing new strategies to increase vocations, the project also created 100 pastoral regions that will provide a structure for the archdiocese to operate the current parishes with as few as 100 pastors.
  • The Archbishop was a strong supporter of Catholic radio in the archdiocese, making a substantial contribution from the Archdiocese toward the purchase of Sacred Heart Catholic Radio 740 AM and frequently appearing on the air.
  • While demographics have lead to the closing and merging of schools and parishes in the Archdiocese, as throughout the country, Archbishop Pilarczyk had the joy of dedicating 37 new churches or chapels and rededicating 25 in his years as archbishop. Although only 26th in size among dioceses around the country, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has the eighth largest network of Catholic schools.
  • As he approached the end of his ministry as archbishop, he launched the “Grateful Believers” initiative to heighten awareness of God’s blessings and the proper response in stewardship. He wrote a score of articles for The Catholic Telegraph and invited dozens of others to share their own stories as grateful believers.