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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Bishop Edward C. Malesic announced today the death of Bishop Emeritus Anthony M. Pilla. He was 88.

Bishop Pilla died peacefully at his personal residence.

Bishop Malesic 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.  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.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine also issued a statement on the bishop’s death:

“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.”