Born in Cleveland, raised in a strong, Italian family and later graduated from John Carroll University, Bishop Anthony Michael Pilla served as Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland from 1980 to 2006. He has touched the lives of the citizens of Cleveland, especially those of the Italian American community. Read on to find out more about the Bishop who served our Diocese for 26 years.
GM: Where in Italy is your family from and how did they make their way to Cleveland?
BP: Colle Sannita, Province of Benevenuto. My grandparents sent them here at age 14 (mother) and 16 (father). They lived in New York and Detroit with relatives.
GM: Where did you grow up?
BP: Lakeview Road and E. 111th Street in Cleveland.
GM: What did it mean growing up in an Italian household?
BP: You were loved, you were taught enduring values; you were encouraged to be your best; you ate very well!
GM: What is your favorite Italian tradition?
BP: The family getting together on holidays for the family meal.
GM: What is your favorite Italian dish?
BP: Eggplant and garlic & oil pasta.
GM: What is your favorite place/city in Italy?
BP: Colle Sannita and Rome
GM: How did you get into your career?
BP: I was encouraged by a teacher at Cathedral Latin High School to think about priesthood.
GM: How has your Italian heritage/values influenced your career?
BP: The values I learned from my parents have had a profound influence on my professional life.
GM: What is the best advice you could give young Italian Americans today?
BP: Be aware of your family history, the culture that nurtured them and be proud of it!
GM: What does Christmas mean to you?
BP: Christmas means God loves me and came on earth to prove it. He came to assure each of us that He is always with us and understands us. He assumed a human nature therefore every human life has dignity, value and purpose.