(Cleveland) - Cleveland Catholic Bishop Emeritus Anthony Pilla has died at age 88. Bishop Pilla led Northeat Ohio's roman Catholics for 25 years, from 1982 to 2006, when he retired due to his health.
Bishop Pilla was a native of Cleveland. He was named the ninth bishop of Cleveland by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 18, 1980 and he was installed on Jan., 6, 1981. He was consecrated as a bishop on Aug. 1, 1979 and served as vicar of the Eastern Region of the Diocese of Cleveland from Aug. 24, 1979 to July 29, 1980, when he was named apostolic administrator of the eight-county diocese.
Bishop Pilla was born on Nov. 12, 1932. He was educated in Cleveland and attended Cathedral Latin High School. Bishop Pilla graduated in 1951 from St. Gregory Seminary High School in Cincinnati and attended St. Gregory attended St. Gregory Seminary College, Cincinnati, before graduating from Borromeo College in Wickliffe in 1955. In 1959, he graduated from Saint Mary Seminary in Cleveland.
He was ordained a priest by Bishop Floyd L. Begin on May 23, 1959 and was assigned as associate pastor of St. Bartholomew Parish, Middleburg Heights, on June 10, 1959. Bishop Pilla served as a professor at Borromeo Seminary beginning on June 21, 1960. He was named rector-president of Borromeo Seminary on Nov. 4, 1972 and was appointed secretary for services to clergy and religious personnel for the diocese on July 1, 1975.
Current Cleveland Bishop Edward Malecic said in a statement, "In my short time as the bishop of Cleveland I came to know Bishop Pilla as a very warm, kind-hearted and deeply faithful shepherd, always dedicated to the people of the diocese. He was generous with his time and sharing his knowledge and concern for the diocese with me. As a leader in the national Church, Bishop Pilla was an inspiration and example to me throughout my priesthood and in my years as a bishop."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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