John George Vlazny

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John George Vlazny
Archbishop Emeritus of Portland in Oregon
ArchdiocesePortland in Oregon
AppointedOctober 28, 1997
InstalledDecember 19, 1997
Term endedJanuary 29, 2013
PredecessorFrancis George, OMI
SuccessorAlexander King Sample
OrdinationDecember 20, 1961
by Martin John O’Connor
ConsecrationDecember 13, 1983
by Joseph Bernardin, Alfred Leo Abramowicz, and Nevin William Hayes
Personal details
Born (1937-02-22) February 22, 1937 (age 82)
Chicago, Illinois
Previous postBishop of Winona (1987–1997)
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago (1983–1987)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Styles of
John George Vlazny
Coat of arms of John George Vlazny.svg
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop
Posthumous stylenot applicable
Ordination history of
John George Vlazny
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byJoseph Bernardin
DateDecember 13, 1983
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by John George Vlazny as principal consecrator
Robert F. VasaJanuary 26, 2000
Liam CaryMay 18, 2012

John George Vlazny (born February 22, 1937) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He was the tenth archbishop of Portland in Oregon, serving from 1997–2013.[1] He previously served as Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago (1983–1987) and Bishop of Winona (1987–1997).[2] On January 29, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced the acceptance of his resignation, with Bishop Alexander King Sample to succeed him in Portland.

Early life and education[edit]

John Vlazny was born in Chicago, Illinois, to John and Marie (née Brezina) Vlazny, who were of Czech ancestry.[3] His father was originally married to the sister of Vlazny's mother, Hattie Brezina, who died when their daughter, Marcella, was 13.[4] In addition to his half-sister, he has a younger sister, Marion.[5] His father, who died from cancer when Vlazny was 18, owned a pharmacy in a three-story building at the corner of 18th and Throop Streets.[4]

Vlazny received his early education at the parochial school of St. Gall Church.[6] After attending Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary, he studied at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958.[6] He continued his studies in Rome, where he attended the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University.[1] He there earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1960 and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1962.[7]


On December 20, 1961, Vlazny was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Martin J. O'Connor at St. Peter's Basilica.[2] He was ordained alongside his fellow American William Levada who would become a cardinal and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[5] Following his return to the United States, he served on the faculty of Quigley Preparatory North, later Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary, in Chicago from 1963 to 1979.[1] He was also Dean of Studies at Quigley North from 1969 to 1979.[7]

In addition to his academic duties, Vlazny served as an associate pastor at St. Paul of the Cross Church in Park Ridge from 1962 to 1963.[5] He then served at St. Clement Church in Lincoln Park from 1963 to 1968, and earned a Master of Arts degree in the Classics from the University of Michigan in 1967.[3] He became an associate pastor at St. Aloysius Church in Wicker Park in 1968, and served as its pastor from 1979 to 1981.[5] In 1972, he earned a Master of Education degree in School Administration from Loyola University Chicago.[1]

From 1976 to 1977, he was president of the Presbyteral Senate for the Archdiocese of Chicago.[7] He was also a diocesan consultor and member of the Diocesan Clergy Personnel Board.[6] He served as rector of Niles College Seminary from 1981 to 1983.[3]


Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago[edit]

On October 18, 1983, Vlazny was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and Titular Bishop of Stagnum by Pope John Paul II.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 13 from Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, with Bishops Alfred Abramowicz and Nevin Hayes, O. Carm., serving as co-consecrators, at Holy Name Cathedral.[2] He took as his episcopal motto: "Go and Make Disciples" (Matthew 28:19).[8]

As an auxiliary bishop, he served as Episcopal Vicar for Lake County and northwestern suburban Cook County.[7] He also worked closely with the Office of the Hispanic Apostolate.[6]

Bishop of Winona[edit]

On May 19, 1987, Vlazny was appointed the sixth Bishop of Winona, Minnesota.[2] He succeeded Bishop Loras Watters, who had retired, as the spiritual leader of Catholics in southern Minnesota. He was installed on the following July 29.[2]

During his tenure, Vlazny increased the involvement of the laity, decentralized the diocesan staff, and created the Offices of Youth and Family Life.[5] He also started the tradition of the "Harvest Mass," an annual outdoor liturgy celebrated on a farm in the diocese. As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he was elected chairman of the Committee on Evangelization in 1993.[7] In 1994, he asked Catholics to consider ending gambling as a source of revenue for parishes and schools.[5]

Archbishop of Portland in Oregon[edit]

On October 28, 1997, Vlazny was appointed the tenth Archbishop of Portland in Oregon.[2] Installed on the following December 19, he succeeded Archbishop Francis George, who had been named to the Archdiocese of Chicago.[1]

An opponent of assisted suicide, Vlazny supported the unsuccessful repeal of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, saying, "Many have expressed a dread about what will happen when the power over life and death may be put into the hands of a society that is driven by economics, expedience and efficiency, a society that flees from suffering, weakness or limitations of any kind."[5] In 1998, when the first legal assisted suicide occurred in Oregon, Vlazny declared that the death "can only bring anguish to those who have resisted the public policy initiatives that changed the law in Oregon."[9]

During the 2004 presidential election, Vlazny said Catholic politicians who supported abortion rights, like Democratic nominee John Kerry, should refrain from receiving Communion.[5]

In July 2004, the Archdiocese of Portland became the first American Catholic diocese to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in response to the Catholic sex abuse cases.[10][11] Vlazny described his actions by saying, "This is not an effort to avoid responsibility. It is, in fact, the only way I can assure that other claimants can be offered fair compensation."[10]

In April 2010, Vlazny called for parishioners to cancel their subscriptions to The (Portland) Oregonian, declaring it guilty of "Catholic bashing." The newspaper's editors, he said, "arrogantly scolded the church for its past failures in handling this matter of child sexual abuse."[12]The newspaper had run an editorial, an editorial cartoon and a syndicated column by E.J. Dionne.[13][unreliable source?]

On January 29, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced the acceptance of Vlazny's resignation, with Bishop Alexander King Sample to succeed him in Portland.[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Archbishop John G. Vlazny". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Archbishop John George Vlazny". David M. Cheney. Retrieved January 21, 2015.[self-published source]
  3. ^ a b c Whitman, Hazel (October 31, 1997). "Our new archbishop hopes to emphasize evangelization". Catholic Sentinel.
  4. ^ a b Hannum, Kristen (December 12, 1997). "Close ties characterize Archbishop Vlazny's family". Catholic Sentinel.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Archbishop Vlazny celebrates 25 years as a bishop". Catholic Sentinel. December 3, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d Britt, Bill (December 12, 1997). "John Vlazny grew up on Chicago's south side". Catholic Sentinel.
  7. ^ a b c d e Ruark, Jeremy C. (July 19, 2011). "One-on-One with the Archbishop". Seaside Signal. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012.
  8. ^ "The Coat of Arms of His Excellency, the Most Reverend John George Vlazny, D.D." Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011.
  9. ^ Egan, Timothy (March 26, 1998). "First Death Under an Assisted-Suicide Law". The New York Times.
  10. ^ a b Goodstein, Laurie (July 7, 2004). "Oregon Archdiocese Files for Bankruptcy Protection". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Stammer, Larry B. (July 7, 2004). "Oregon Diocese 1st to File Bankruptcy". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Appointments: Bishop Sample to Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon". Vatican Radio. January 29, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2016.

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Francis George
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon
Succeeded by
Alexander King Sample
Preceded by
Loras Joseph Watters
Bishop of Winona
Succeeded by
Bernard Joseph Harrington
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Succeeded by