Diocese of Steubenville at 422 Washington Street, Steubenville, OH 43952 US - Our HistoryOur History
The Catholic Diocese of Steubenville was established on October 21, 1944 and the Most Reverend John King Mussio was appointed the first Bishop on March 16, 1945. When Bishop Mussio first arrived, the only institution that existed in the whole diocese, other than the usual parish and school institutions was a small hospital in the north end of Steubenville called Gill Hospital. There was also the institution of Steubenville Catholic Central High School (as well as high schools in Bellaire, Marietta and Ironton).
During his years as Bishop of Steubenville, Bishop John King Mussio led the Diocese in the following accomplishments:
- Established a Diocesan Knights of Columbus Youth Camp in Jefferson County
- Established the College of Steubenville (now known as the Franciscan University of Steubenville)
- Constructed St. John Vianney Seminary
- Established a Camaldolese Hermitage which is still in existence today
- A diocesan brotherhood (Brothers of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, also still in existence)
- A clothing center in Steubenville, known as Samaritan House
- The establishment of the Catholic Social Services in Steubenville
- A diocesan newspaper, The Steubenville Register
- Established the Diocesan Catholic Woman's Club, which is still active today
- Established the Steubenville Ecumenical Institute to foster better relationships among all Christians and Jews.
- Constructed the diocesan community arena, St. John Arena
- Encouraged the construction of the St. John Hospital in Steubenville, replacing the old Gill Memorial Hospital and now known as Trinity Medical Center, West
- Encouraged the Serra Club, Legion of Mary and a host of other societies to participate in the life of the community.
- Encouraged the revitalization of the Catholic Community Center in Steubenville
- Started Sacred Heart Kindergarten in Steubenville, which is still in operation today
- Provided Student Centers for counseling at Ohio University, Marietta College and Rio Grande.
- Established children's home in Carrollton for children from broken homes, mentally retarded, and orphans. This home is now known as St. John's Villa
- Established the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Board
- Encouraged the construction of Mount St. Mary Hospital in Nelsonville
- Bishop Mussio began 18 missions. In addition, Bishop Mussio began 73 parishes and 2 parish missions.
The Central office building of the Diocese of Steubenville was purchased from Bell Telephone Company in 1946 at 422 Washington Street, and renovated to provide office space for diocesan, education offices, the Tribunal and Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel. This building still houses the diocesan offices.
Steubenville Catholic Central High School was built in the West End of Steubenville and graduated its first class in 1951. Additions have been added throughout the years.
Bishop Mussio retired October 11, 1977; he died April 15, 1978.
Bishop Albert H. Ottenweller was appointed to the Diocese of Steubenville October 11, 1977 and was installed as the second Bishop of Steubenville November 22, 1977. He retired April 2, 1992.
During his tenure as Bishop of Steubenville Bishop Ottenweller called for a Diocesan Synod. The Synod of 1983 asked the People of God of the Diocese of Steubenville to become more involved in the Church and to establish a direction for the Diocese to take over the next ten years. From the Synod came the Alliance of Pastors, the Council of Priests (now known as the Presbyteral Council), the "adoption" of the Archdiocese of Cusco, Peru. Bishop Ottenweller established the Diocesan Data Processing Department in order to have a census of the entire Diocese of Steubenville. This department also entered into the computer a survey in which 21,000 people responded to 83 questions. The Information and Technology Department as it is known today, is key to the operation of the Diocese to this day.
The deaneries were realigned in order to see to the needs of the diocesan priests. There were ten deaneries in the 13 counties of the Diocese of Steubenville. Bishop Ottenweller established the diocesan finance board, the Fort Steuben (housing for the elderly), and lay deanery councils. The lay deanery councils were established as a way for the bishop to listen to the needs of the people of God.
Bishop Ottenweller established the Ministry to Priests program, Pastoral Staff and the Core Staff. He put together a Department of Religious Education with three centers to serve the needs of the people, one in Steubenville, one in Bridgeport, and one in Athens. Each one had a director caring for the parishes and schools in the district. There are only two offices at the present time, one in Athens and one in Steubenville. The name has been changed to the Office of Christian Formation. We now have a strong cadre of teachers who have been certified to teach classes of religion by attending classes and workshops over several years, taking the credits necessary for certification. The centers also provide adult education, programs for the mentally disabled and handicapped.
Also from the diocesan Synod of 1983 came a call for the Diocese of Steubenville to find an alternate way of funding. Thus, was founded the Diocesan/Parish Share Campaign. This method of funding has been very successful with all monies over the diocesan goal being returned to the parish for parish use.
Bishop Gilbert I. Sheldon, third Bishop of Steubenville was installed as Bishop of Steubenville on April 2, 1992. Bishop Sheldon, began a series of articles in the diocesan newspaper, The Steubenville Register, regarding the Catechism of the Catholic Church and continues the articles in each edition. He conducted workshops for teachers of religion throughout the Diocese, introducing them to THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH and promoting its use.
Bishop Sheldon has encouraged the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Steubenville; when he first came to Steubenville there were no permanent deacons, we now have 7, 2 were ordained by Bishop Sheldon. The work begun by the 2 previous bishops continued with Lay Deanery Council's. The deaneries were religned from 10 back to 5.
Since becoming bishop in August 2002, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon has taken a number of steps to promote and safeguard the faith. He has established a close relationship with the Franciscan University of Steubenville, which has a reputation for solid, orthodox instruction and fidelity to the magisterium. All theological faculty members have taken the oath of fidelity and made the profession of faith.
The bishop is concerned to develop the quality of catechetics within the diocese. In the summer of 2003 he convened the priests and lay catechetical leaders of the diocese for two-day workshops to study the General Catechetical Directory.
The bishop has visited all the parishes and schools of the diocese since his ordination in August of 2002, and has begun a series of lengthier visits to regions of the diocese. He has visited all the religious houses in the diocese. During the regional visits the bishop meets with the priests of the area, celebrates the Eucharist and other sacraments, meets with parish pastoral councils and other parish groups, visits catechetical classes, meets with civic officials and the clergy of other Christian communions, visits homebound Catholics and tours places of employment and social service agencies.
Bishop Conlon is very concerned about the crisis of child abuse, especially the abuse of young people by priests and the way some bishops have handled it. It has been painful and embarrassing for the Church. The bishop put into effect the Decree on Child Protection on Ash Wednesday,
Recently, the deanery pastoral councils were formed. These were previously known as the lay deanery councils. The work of the deanery pastoral councils will begin in January of 2004. The purpose of the deanery pastoral council is to provide a consultative structure for clergy and laity to work prayerfully and collaboratively to provide for the most effective way to build up the church in the Diocese of Steubenville, especially at the deanery level.
The Diocese of Steubenville currently has 44 active priests, 5 priests on extra-diocesan assignment, 3 priests on leave and 30 retired priests, 6 permanent deacons and 6 diocesan seminarians. There are 58 parishes, 3 missions, and 1 diocesan Chapel. There are 3 high schools and 10 grade schools. There is 1 Catholic Hospital, Trinity Medical Center West/Trinity Medical Center East.