CLEVELAND– Bishop Richard Lennon, the 10 leader of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, was laid to rest.
His funeral mass was held early in the day on Tuesday at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and Catholics from all over the country came to pay their respects.
“So now we have brought him our brother with great tenderness and charity into this cathedral in the hope of everlasting life,” said Bishop Christopher Coyne of the diocese of Burlington, Vt.
Lennon passed at the age of 72 after battling a long-term illness.
“I, too, will miss my friends, smile and his laugh. And I will miss his good council and his good example to me as an ordained minister,” Coyne said.
His life was celebrated with stories and laughter.
“Have you ever heard Bishop Lennon sing?” Coyne asked when telling a story of a children’s choir Lennon established.
Andy Lennon remembering his uncle fondly.
“For us as kids growing up, he was someone we looked up to, not just because he was a priest. And we knew what his line of work meant caring for others, but he was just a really great person to be around.”
Sister Donna William Giaimo said he was very involved with her convent in Boston, even battling heavy snow on one occasion to deliver mass.
“He hitched a ride with a snowplow. He knew someone who had a plow and brought him to our property, the edge of our property. Our sisters were out there shoveling a path for him because the snow was pretty deep, and so we had mass for Sunday,” Giaimo said.
In Cleveland, he was forced to closed dozens of churches, but managed to turn the diocese around with a capital campaign that continues to support its evangelization efforts.
“I know he made some really tough decisions when he first came in. I think the diocese here is going to reap the benefits of some of the work that he did,” said Lennon of his uncle.
Those he pastored, said his legacy will endure.
“I know he’ll be praying for us, interceding for us, and for the church that he loved so well,” Giaimo said.
The bishop’s remains are now interred in the cathedral’s crypt.