Most Reverend John J. Myers, J.C.D., D.D. was appointed the Fifth Archbishop to the Archdiocese of Newark on July 24, 2001. His installation took place on October 9 in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark. He came to the Archdiocese from the Diocese of Peoria, IL, where he served as Coadjutor Bishop from 1987 to 1990, and as Bishop since 1990. Archbishop Myers was ordained in 1966. He earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the North American College, Gregorian University, Rome, in 1967, and a Doctorate in Canon Law from Catholic University in Washington, DC in 1977.
Upon his installation, Archbishop Myers inherited an Archdiocese that was reeling from the events of Sept.11. Members of the Archdiocese were deeply affected by the tragedy, which took place so close to their own neighborhoods. The Archbishop responded by encouraging all parishes to remain open for people to pray, offering special Masses and services for those who perished in the attacks and by writing a pastoral letter released on the one-month anniversary of the tragedy, “If God is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? Reflections on Faith and Terrorism.” In doing so, he sought to assuage the pain and suffering of families who had lost loved ones, provide spiritual guidance and counsel, and reinforce the Church’s teaching on God’s divine mercy.
Within little over a year as Archbishop of Newark, Archbishop Myers had released a total of three pastoral letters, revealing his intellectual bent and proclivity for teaching. In December of 2001, his pastoral letter, “A Reason for the Hope that Lies Within Us,” addressed the role of the Church of Newark within the context of the greater Church in the United States and the Universal Church.
One year later, Archbishop Myers wrote “And the Word Became Flesh: A Theological Reflection on the Human Body.” At a time where Church officials were under heavy scrutiny due to allegations of sexual abuse by priests, Archbishop Myers took the opportunity to reflect on the Church’s timeless teaching on the human body, human sexuality, and its purpose and sanctity.
Archbishop Myers played an integral role in the Bishops’ Conference in addressing the problem of sexual abuse, serving for a time of the Bishop’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse. In his column, “Sincerely In the Lord,” published in the Archdiocese of Newark’s official newspaper “The Catholic Advocate,” the Archbishop wrote, “justice must be served and young people protected.”
He also used that same forum to boldly defend the Church, in his article “A Voice Not Rooted in Faith,” which dually criticized and simultaneously banned the group Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) from assembling on Archdiocesan property. While his actions drew criticism from some, the Archbishop acted to defend the Church from an “umbrella” group whose mission statement proved vague, and ultimately “inconsistent” with Church teaching, thus exemplifying the Bishop’s role as “Defender of the Faith.”
Currently, he serves on the Board of Governors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Boston, MA; the Seminary Committee and Board of Trustees of Catholic University of America; the Papal Foundation; the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; The US Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Hispanic Affairs (2002-), the Committee for Aid to the Church in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (1999-).
His Holiness Pope John Paul II conferred the Pallium on Archbishop Myers on June 29, 2002.