Cleveland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Cleveland, Oh | WKYC.com

Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon resigns, diagnosed with vascular dementia

'In your kindness, I pray that you pray for me.'

CLEVELAND -- Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon, granting him early retirement status.

"My health has declined to such an extent that I should resign," Bishop Lennon said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

He also announced he was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia.

"In your kindness, I pray that you pray for me," he said in his outgoing comments.

The Boston native has been the head of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland for more than 10 years.

WATCH | 7 minutes with Russ Mitchell: Bishop Richard Lennon

Bishop Lennon sent a letter to Pope Francis in late November citing his ongoing health challenges as the reason for his decision to retire. The mandatory retirement age for bishops in the United States is 75.

Bishop Lennon was ordained to the priesthood in May 1973.

He was hospitalized back in February after undergoing heart surgery.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has appointed Reverend Daniel Edward Thomas as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland effective immediately. As Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Thomas was chosen to administer the affairs of the Diocese of Cleveland until such time a permanent appointment is made. He will continue serving his role as bishop of Toledo while overseeing the governance of the Diocese of Cleveland.

Bishop Thomas made headlines earlier this week for asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to end the death penalty.