Newark Archdiocese is diverse and densely populated

Archbishop John J. Myers is moving from the plains of Illinois to the geographically smallest diocese in the United States; but its 513-square miles encompass about 1.3 million Catholics. It is one of the busiest, largest and most diverse dioceses in the nation.

The Archdiocese of Newark encompasses the northeastern New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Union, and Hudson and the population totals 2.8 million people. The Archdiocese maintains 235 Catholic parishes, 139 elementary schools, 37 high schools, one university and three colleges – educating a total of almost 120,000 students. There are another 57,000 students enrolled in parish religious education programs.

Eight Catholic hospitals function within the four counties, 114 health care service centers, seven homes for the aged and invalid and almost 400 centers for other human services are guided or sponsored by the archdiocese.

Mass is celebrated in 15 different languages each Sunday. There are more than a thousand priests and about 250 permanent deacons. There are almost 1,400 Religious Sisters and about 100 Religious Brothers that minister within the Archdiocese.

When informed of his appointment to Newark by Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the Ambassador of the Apostolic See to the United States, Archbishop Myers said he was “surprised, honored and humbled.” He expressed deep gratitude “for the trust which the Holy Father has shown.”

Mass is celebrated in 15 different languages each Sunday. There are more than a thousand priests and about 250 permanent deacons. There are almost 1,400 Religious Sisters and about 100 Religious Brothers that minister within the Archdiocese.

When informed of his appointment to Newark by Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the Ambassador of the Apostolic See to the United States, Archbishop Myers said he was “surprised, honored and humbled.” He expressed deep gratitude “for the trust which the Holy Father has shown.”


Archbishop John J. Myers is shown with youngsters from Peoria's Catholic schools during a visit. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Post)

His predecessor, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, called Archbishop Myers “a very goodpriest, a loving and warm shepherd and a man totally dedicated to the Church and to the Holy Father.”

At a Newark press conference, after his appointment was announced, Archbishop Myers said it was “a special honor to succeed” the Cardinal “for whom I have deep admiration and sincere friendship and affection.” He also thanked and warmly embraced Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety, who served as Newark’s Archbishop before the Cardinal.

Newark’s new Archbishop comes from a rural Illinois town. He was born in Ottawa, Ill., on July 26, 1941 to MelvinWayne (Jack) and the late Margaret Myers. He is the oldest of seven children. He is remembered as an outstanding student; and he completed studies at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He said he discerned a call to the priesthood while in college. He entered the seminary and went on to Rome for further studies. He was ordained by Bishop Francis Reh on Dec. 17, 1966 at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. He earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) from the North American College, Gregorian University in Rome in 1967, and a doctorate in Canon Law from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. in 1977.

He returned to Peoria for parish work; then went on to serve in the Department of International Affairs of the U.S. Catholic Conference. He left the conference in 1971 to return to the Peoria Diocese where he served at St. Matthew Parish in Champaign, Ill., for three years.

Archbishop Myers held many positions of responsibility in the Peoria Diocese, including that of Vocations Director, Chancellor and Vicar General. He was a member of the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council and the Board of Consultors there.

The Archbishop was named Coadjutor Bishop of Peoria in 1987 and acceded to the See of Peoria on Jan. 23, 1990. He serves on the Board of Governors at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Boston, the Board of Trustees of Catholic University of America and was vice-president of the Illinois Catholic Health Association. He has participated extensively in Canon Law projects and has produced scholarly writings on a range of topics, including diocesan finance, ecclesial ministries, the rights of unborn children and the family.


About the Archbishop