Joseph Leopold Imesch

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Joseph Leopold Imesch (June 21, 1931 – December 22, 2015) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois from 1979 to 2006.


Early life and education[edit]

Joseph Imesch was born in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan to Dionys and Margaret (née Margelisch) Imesch.[1] After attending Catholic elementary schools in Grosse Pointe, he attended Sacred Heart Seminary High School and College in Detroit, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953.[2] He then continued his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, earning a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1957.[2]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

While in Rome, Imesch was ordained to the priesthood on December 16, 1956.[3] Following his return to Michigan, Imesch served as a curate at St. Charles Church in Detroit until 1959, when he became private secretary to Cardinal John Francis Dearden. He then served as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Farmington, Michigan from 1971-77.[1]

Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit[edit]

On February 8, 1973, Imesch was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit and Titular Bishop of Pomaria by Pope Paul VI.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following April 3 from Cardinal Dearden, with Bishops Walter Joseph Schoenherr and Thomas Gumbleton serving as co-consecrators.[3][better source needed] He continued to serve at Our Lady of Sorrows until becoming regional bishop of the Northwest Region of the Detroit Archdiocese in 1977.[2]

Bishop of Joliet[edit]

On June 30, 1979, Imesch was appointed the third Bishop of Joliet, Illinois by Pope John Paul II.[3] His installation took place at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus on August 28, 1979.[3] Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he served as chairman of Committee on Women in Society and the Church (1982-85), Committee Writing the Pastoral on the Concerns of Women (1983-92), and Committee for Pastoral Practices (1995-98), and a member of the Marriage and Family Life Committee (1994-97), Committee for Stewardship (1995-2002), and Administrative Board (2001-03).[2] From 2001-03, he was chairman of Region VII[self-published source], which includes dioceses in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.[2]


Shortly before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Imesch resigned as Bishop of Joliet on May 16, 2006.[3] He was succeeded by Bishop J. Peter Sartain.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Retired Bishop Joseph L. Imesch". Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet in Illinois. Archived from the original on 2010-01-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Farwell and Thank You, Bishop Imesch" (PDF). Serra Club of DuPage County. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Bishop Joseph Leopold Imesch". Retrieved December 23, 2015. [self-published source]

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop Emeritus of Joliet
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Romeo Roy Blanchette
Bishop of Joliet in Illinois
Succeeded by
J. Peter Sartain
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit
Succeeded by