Reverend Donald Oleksiak to Temporarily Take Over for Perez

Cleveland - The College of Consultors in the Diocese of Cleveland has elected Reverend Donald P. Oleksiak of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland as the diocesan administrator until Holy Father Pope Francis names a new bishop of the diocese. This election and vote of the consultors was required by canon law and put into motion by the pope’s appointment of former Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez to serve as the new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on January 23.

A diocesan administrator is elected by the College of Consultors. The College of Consultors is a group of priests (eight, in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland) whose normal role is to advise the diocesan bishop, especially regarding major transactions. The College of Consultors is obliged to elect a diocesan administrator within eight days of receiving notice of the vacancy of an episcopal see. Those currently serving on the College of Consultors for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland are: Rev. Douglas T. Brown, Rev. Edward T. Estok, Jr., Rev. Eric S. Garris, Rev. Lawrence Jurcak, Rev. Joseph R. Mamich, Rev. Donald P. Oleksiak, Rev. William A. Thaden, and Rev. Joseph G. Workman.

A diocesan administrator is a priest or bishop who administers a diocese temporarily until the installation of the next diocesan bishop. The diocesan administrator generally has the same powers as a diocesan bishop, except for matters which would have long-term consequences. As much as possible, a diocesan administrator will leave decisions regarding major changes to the next diocesan bishop. It often takes six to eight months — and sometimes longer — from the time a diocesan bishop’s seat becomes vacant until a new bishop is appointed.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1989, Father Oleksiak, 57, has served the diocese in administrative roles for over a decade. Most recently he served as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for Bishop Nelson Perez. He served as the delegate to Bishop Daniel E. Thomas who was the Apostolic Administrator for the diocese prior to the appointment by Pope Francis of Bishop Perez as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland. Father Oleksiak also served as Vicar General and Moderator for the Curia under Bishop Richard Lennon from 2014 to 2016. He served as director of diocesan Office of Clergy Personnel. In addition, Father Oleksiak has been administrator for several parishes including St. Patrick Parish in Thompson, Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Garfield Heights and St. Peter in Loudonville. Father Oleksiak was pastor of St. Monica Parish from 2003-2005. He served as parochial vicar at St. Bernadette Parish in Westlake from 1994 to 1995 and at St. Joseph Parish in Strongsville from 1989 to 1994.

Father Oleksiak’s appointment as diocesan administrator takes effect immediately.

Photo courtesy of The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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