Happy Anniversary to Our Former Bishop!
Dennis Schnurr was born in Sheldon, Ioway to Edward and Eleanor (née Jungers) Schnurr. One of six children, he has two brothers and three sisters. He attended Spalding Catholic High School in Granville before entering Loras College in Dubuque, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. He later earned a Master’s degree in theology in 1974 from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Schnurr was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Frank Greteman on July 20, 1974 for the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa. He was an associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Epiphany and at Blessed Sacrament Church until 1977, whence he began his graduate studies at the Catholic University of America, receiving a doctorate in canon law in 1980. He then served as Vice-Chancellor (1980–1981) and Chancellor (1981–1985) of the Diocese of Sioux City, as well as the diocesan finance officer (1980–1985), a judge on the diocesan tribunal (1980–1985), and secretary of the presbyteral council (1981–1985).
In 1985, Schnurr was assigned to the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.. He served as Associate General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference from 1989 to 1995; during his tenure, he supervised those departments dealing with education, domestic and international social policy, and communications. Schnurr organized the 1993 World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, which was the only time the United States has hosted the event. He was raised to the rank of Prelate of Honor of His Holiness in 1993 as well, and elected general secretary of the NCCB/USCC in 1994.
A product of the NAC and Gregorian named to the Minnesota diocese in 2001, the Iowa-born archbishop first came to wide notice in two national-level assignments during his priesthood: first, his role as executive director for 1993’s World Youth Day in Denver, a year after which he was elevated to general secretary of the US bishops’ conference, where he served until the Duluth appointment. Prior to that, Schnurr — who had been chancellor of his home-diocese of Sioux City by his early 30s — was a local aide on the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington. He is also, for the second time, treasurer of the USCCB, a term that will end in 2019.
Archbishop Schnurr reported that the number of seminarians studying for Cincinnati is 54 and will likely exceed 60 next year, which is a cause for great joy, both for Cincinnati and for him.
The Diocese of Duluth extends its gratitude for the gift of his life to our local Church and wishes him all the best in the year to come.