The Most Reverend Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B.
1977 - 2002
Retired Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland was born in Patton, Pennsylvania, on April 2, 1927, one of the six children of Basil and Mary Kane Weakland. He graduated from Our Lady of Perpetual Help parochial school in Patton, and his high school, college, and philosophical studies were done in Latrobe, Pa., at St. Vincent Preparatory School, St. Vincent College, and St. Vincent Seminary, respectively.
He entered the religious life as a Benedictine novice at St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, in 1945 and was solemnly professed as a monk in that Order on September 29, 1949, at Solesmes Abbey, France. His theological studies for the priesthood were done at the International Benedictine College of Sant'Anselmo in Rome, Italy, and at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe.
He was ordained to the priesthood on June 24, 1951, at Subiaco, Italy, by Bishop Lorenzo S. Salvi, O.S.B., Abbot Nullius of Subiaco Abbey. He pursued studies in music in Italy, France, and Germany, as well as at the Juilliard School of Music, New York, and Columbia University. From 1957 to 1963 he taught Music at St. Vincent College.
During his musical career, he held memberships and offices in a number of prominent national and international societies and associations, lectured widely in Europe and America, and authored several articles on music and the liturgy, as well as The Play of Daniel. On December 21, 1999, he defended and received a Ph.D. in Musicology - "with distinction" - from Columbia University, New York, for his research and thesis on "The Office Antiphons of the Ambrosian Chant."
He was elected coadjutor Archabbot of St. Vincent Archabbey on June 26, 1963, and received the solemn blessing of an archabbot from Bishop William G. Connare of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on August 29, 1963. Following this, he became the chancellor and chairman of the board of directors of St. Vincent College. On May 8, 1964, he received a papal appointment as consultor to the Commission for Implementing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council and was appointed a member of that commission in 1968.
He was elected abbot primate of the International Benedictine Confederation on September 29, 1967. At this time he also became chancellor of the International Benedictine College of Sant'Anselmo, Rome, Italy. He was re-elected to a second term as abbot primate in September 1973. He served as a member of the Council of Superiors General from 1968 until 1977. He participated in the Synods of Bishops in 1969, 1971, 1973, 1987 and 1997. In 1968, he presided at the meeting of Monastic Superiors in Bangkok, at which Thomas Merton was one of the speakers. After Merton's tragic death, he administered the final anointing and had the body shipped back to the monastery of Gethsemani.
He was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee by Pope Paul VI on September 20, 1977. He was ordained a bishop on November 8, 1977, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee, and on the same occasion was installed as Milwaukee's ninth archbishop by Archbishop Jean Jadot, apostolic delegate to the United States.
Retired Archbishop Weakland is a past chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' ad hoc Committee on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy which drafted the U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Letter on the Economy and past-Chairman of the NCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Archbishop Weakland reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 on April 2, 2002. His retirement was accepted on May 24, 2002.
Motto: Aequalitas Omnibus Caritas. "Equal Charity to All"