Local Native, Retired Archbishop of Milwaukee, Passes

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Most Reverend Rembert George Weakland, O.S.B., retired Archbishop of Milwaukee, died on August 22, 2022, at the age of 95.

He was born in Patton, Pennsylvania, on April 2, 1927, one of the six children of Basil and Mary Kane Weakland. His siblings are Marion Weber and Leora Forney. He was predeceased by his sisters, Betty and Barbara, and his brother, William. Also surviving are numerous nieces and nephews.

He graduated from Our Lady of Perpetual Help parochial school in Patton, and his high school, college, and philosophical studies were done in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, at Saint Vincent Preparatory School, Saint Vincent College, and Saint Vincent Seminary, respectively.

He entered religious life as a Benedictine novice at Saint 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 undertaken at the International Benedictine College of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, Italy, and at Saint 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 Saint Vincent College. On December 21, 1999, he defended his research and received a Ph.D. in Musicology, “with distinction,” from Columbia University, New York, for his research and dissertation on “The Office Antiphons of the Ambrosian Chant.”

He was elected Coadjutor Archabbot of Saint 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 installation, he became the Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saint 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 that 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 was appointed Archbishop of Milwaukee by Pope Paul VI on September 20, 1977. He was ordained to the episcopacy on November 8, 1977, at the Cathedral of Saint 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.

Archbishop Weakland reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 on April 2, 2002. His retirement was accepted on May 24, 2002.

A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial with Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki presiding was celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, 812 N. Jackson Street, Milwaukee on August 30, 2022.

The body of Archbishop Weakland will be received at 3 p.m. Thursday, September 1 in the north transept of the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica. Visitation will occur between 3 and 5 p.m. in the north transept. The monastic community will pray evening prayer at 5 p.m. in the Basilica. A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 7 p.m. in the Basilica with Archabbot Martin Bartel as principal celebrant and homilist. A private committal service will be held Friday at Saint Vincent Cemetery.