Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop- Emeritus of Newark
PEORIA - The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop-Emeritus of Newark, and the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, passed away on Thursday, September 24, 2020, surrounded by his family. He was born in Ottawa, IL on July 26, 1941 to M. W. "Jack" and Margaret Donahue Myers. He was the eldest of seven children.
The Myers family farmed near Earlville, IL and the children all worked with their father and shared the family chores; prayer was very much a part of their everyday routine. Young John Myers was an altar server in his parish, St. Theresa, from an early age.
John Myers attended elementary and high schools in Earlville. While completing studies at Loras College in Dubuque, IA (1959–1963), Bishop John B. Franz offered him the opportunity to prepare for the priesthood in Rome and continue his seminary education through the Pontifical North American College, the national seminary in Rome for the formation of candidates for priesthood from the United States. Father Myers was ordained a priest for service to the Diocese of Peoria by Bishop Francis Reh on Dec. 17, 1966 at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome. He then received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University, Rome in 1967. He later earned a Doctorate in Canon Law from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 1977.
Father Myers' first assignment was as assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish, Peoria in 1967. He then served in the Department of International Affairs of the United States Catholic Conference from 1970 to 1971. His next assignment was as associate pastor of St. Matthew Parish, Champaign, IL from 1971 until 1974.
Among the administrative positions Father Myers held in the Diocese of Peoria were: Administrator of St. Mary Cathedral (1977-1978 and 1984); diocesan Vice Chancellor (1977-78); Vocations Director (1977-1987); diocesan Chancellor (1978-1987); and diocesan Vicar General (1982– 1990).
On September 3, 1987, Bishop Myers was ordained as Coadjutor Bishop of Peoria, and acceded to the See of Peoria on January 23, 1990.
On July 24, 2001, His Holiness, Saint Pope John Paul II, called Bishop John J. Myers to serve as the fifth Metropolitan Archbishop of Newark, NJ. He was installed as Archbishop of Newark on October 9, 2001.
His Holiness conferred the Pallium on Archbishop Myers on June 29, 2002.
Archbishop Myers' motto, Mysterium Ecclesiae Luceat (translated: "Let the Mystery of the Church shine forth") is a succinct summary of the central theme of the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. He often said, "I cannot make someone believe. I can, however, explain what the Church teaches and the reasons for that teaching, and then invite him or her to be open to that teaching and embrace it."
Archbishop Myers was preceded in death by his parents Jack and Peg. He is survived by his six siblings, Larry (Phyllis) Myers of Ottawa, Bill (Martha) Myers of Earlville, Mary Margaret (Joe) Didier of Sugar Grove, Elizabeth Myers of Peoria, Loretta Malley of Yorkville, and Don (Cindy) Myers of Bloomington; and numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews. He will be dearly missed by his large Irish-German clan.
The wake/visitation for the Archbishop will be open to the public. He will lie in state at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 3 pm until 8 pm. The Rosary will be recited at 7 pm. Participants will be expected to wear a face covering and to observe social distancing.
Because of the limitations on seating brought on the by pandemic, the funeral Mass will not be open to the general public. Admission is limited to members of the Archbishop's family, Visiting Cardinals and Bishops, Priests of the Diocese of Peoria and the Archdiocese of Newark. The funeral Mass will be streamed live over the Internet at 11:00 am at cdop.org
The burial will take place at the Bishops' Mausoleum at Saint Mary Cemetery in West Peoria.
Memorials may be made to The Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria Seminarian Fund, Peoria, IL.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Wright and Salmon Funeral Home in Peoria.
Friends and family may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences by logging onto www.wrightandsalmon.com