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Bishop Anthony Pilla, who led Diocese of Cleveland from 1981-2006, passes away at age 88

"As a leader in the community and a friend to so many, he will be greatly missed."

CLEVELAND — The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland has announced that former Cleveland Bishop Anthony Pilla has passed away at the age of 88.

Pilla had been Cleveland's Bishop Emeritus since retiring in 2006.

Current Cleveland Bishop Edward Malesic released the following statement about Bishop Pilla's passing:

"It is with deep sadness that I share with the Catholic community of the Diocese of Cleveland the news of the passing this morning of Bishop Anthony M. Pilla. Bishop Pilla died peacefully at his personal residence. 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. I felt so welcomed by him when I came to the Diocese of Cleveland, a Church that he loved so much. As a leader in the community and a friend to so many, he will be greatly missed.

Please join me in offering prayers for Bishop Pilla and his family.  May Bishop Pilla rest in the peace of Christ."

The diocese says funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.

Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, was named the ninth bishop of Cleveland by Pope John Paul II on November 18, 1980 and was installed on January 6, 1981.

A Cleveland native, Bishop Pilla was born on November 12, 1932. He attended Cathedral Latin High School in Cleveland before graduating in 1951 from St. Gregory Seminary High School in Cincinnati. Bishop Pilla attended St. Gregory Seminary College in Cincinnati before graduating from Borromeo College in Wickliffe in 1955. In 1959, he graduated from Saint Mary Seminary in Cleveland.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Mike DeWine released the following statement about the passing of Bishop Pilla:

"Fran and I were saddened to learn of the death of Bishop Anthony Pilla. Bishop Pilla was a devoted servant of the Lord who cared deeply for the people of Northeast Ohio.  He was one of them.  And as Bishop, his relationship with the people of the diocese was as personal and meaningful as the relationship between a parish priest and his congregation.  He grew up in Cleveland and led the diocese for a quarter of a century.  In addition, Bishop Pilla was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1995-1998 and was the second Ohioan and second non-Cardinal/Archbishop to lead the group.  Bishop Pilla was a personal friend of Fran’s and mine, and we will miss him very much."

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