His Eminence Albert Gregory Meyer, S.T.D., S.S.L.
1953 - 1958
Born on March 9, 1903, in Milwaukee, Albert Gregory Meyer was educated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame at Old St. Mary’s School and attended Saint Francis Seminary. He was ordained a priest on July 11, 1926, in Rome. He was the first archbishop of Milwaukee who was born, raised and educated in his own archdiocese.
After completing his education in Rome with a licentiate in sacred scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Meyer returned to Milwaukee. There he served one year as an associate pastor in Waukesha and then accepted an appointment to teach dogma and ascetical theology at Saint Francis Seminary.
Meyer was appointed bishop of the Superior Diocese in Wisconsin and was consecrated bishop in 1946. During his time in Superior, he produced a set of sermon outlines that were used by priests statewide.
He was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee on July 21, 1953, and returned to Milwaukee as it was approaching a period of the most dramatic growth in its history. Over 100,000 new Catholics came into the diocese, and Meyer launched a $3,230,000 building program, which included improvements to the facilities of Saint Francis Seminary.
Building projects during his episcopacy produced the greatest building activity in the history of the diocese. During the five years of Meyer’s episcopate, 17 new parishes were established and five missions were converted to parish status.
He initiated a statewide Catholic census and religious information program that resulted in many converts. He also paid particular attention to the growing black population in Milwaukee and fought city authorities to preserve Blessed Martin Parish.
During Meyer’s tenure as archbishop, lay participation in the work of the Church increased. In 1958 he established a Council of Catholic Men to complement the existing Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women.
He also emphasized the need for proper dress in his 1956 pastoral letter on "Decency and Modesty."
Appointed to succeed Cardinal Stritch in Chicago, Meyer left Milwaukee on September 24, 1958, and was installed as archbishop of Chicago on November 16, 1958. There he worked with problems such as racial discrimination in parishes and schools. Meyer was made cardinal on December 14, 1959.
At the Second Vatican Council, Meyer was a leading prelate (theological expert) due to his outstanding knowledge of Latin and other languages, as well as his appreciation for newer trends in biblical and historical theology.
Cardinal Meyer died in Chicago, from a brain tumor, on April 9, 1965.