MEINRAD, Ind. (CNS) -- Retired Archbishop
Daniel M. Buechlein of Indianapolis, a Benedictine priest for 53 years, died
Jan. 25 at age 79.
death was reported by St. Meinrad Archabbey, where he had lived in retirement
Buechlein headed the Archdiocese of Indianapolis from July 14, 1992, until his retirement Sept. 21, 2011.
his 19 years as archdiocese's spiritual and pastoral leader, Archbishop Buechlein
was especially interested in promoting Catholic education, young adult ministry
and vocations to priesthood and the religious life.
his leadership, enrollment in the archdiocese's Catholic schools increased 30
percent to more than 25,000 students, reversing a 25-year decline. Innovative
partnerships with the Lilly Endowment, campaigns to help fund new education
initiatives, and the support of the business community led to improved student
performance, which the U.S. Department of Education recognized by awarding 26
archdiocesan schools with Blue Ribbon awards for excellence.
Buechlein garnered support to keep Catholic schools in the central city open to
serve students from low-income families and the growing immigrant population.
He also led the effort to build two new grade schools in the city. He expanded
the archdiocese's ministry to young adults by starting a Theology on Tap program,
adding new college campus ministry programs, and creating new archdiocesan
staff positions to provide outreach to young adults.
2003, Archbishop Buechlein established the ministry of permanent diaconate in
the archdiocese. The first class of 25 deacons was ordained in 2008.
also founded the Bishop Simon
Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis in 2004 to prepare college
seminarians for major seminary. The seminary quickly attracted young men
discerning a vocation to the priesthood and today has nearly 50 seminarians
from 10 dioceses.
archdiocesan Catholic Charities network and other social outreach ministries also
expanded at the archbishop's urging. A 30,000-square-foot shelter for homeless
families, the Holy Family Shelter, was among the new programs initiated.
a series of budget deficits, Archbishop Buechlein guided the archdiocese to
firm financial footing and oversaw the dramatic growth of the Catholic
Community Foundation, which is responsible for the archdiocese's endowments.
During his tenure, 337 endowment funds with a value of more than $100 million
suffered a mild stroke in March 2011 and was admitted to St. Vincent Hospital
in Indianapolis. On Aug. 1, 2011, he submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI
and two months later he moved to the infirmary at the monastery at St. Meinrad.
his health permitted, Archbishop Buechlein wrote a book, "Surprised by
Grace: Memories and Reflections After 25 Years of Episcopal Ministry,"
which was published in 2013.
archbishop was born in Jasper, Indiana, April 20, 1938, to Carl and Rose
(Blessinger) Buechlein and given the name Marcus George.
joined the Benedictines at St. Meinrad in August 1958 and professed simple vows
a year later, taking the name Daniel. He made his solemn vows in 1962 and was
ordained to the priesthood in 1964.
ordination, the young priest spent two years in Rome, where he obtained a licentiate
in sacred theology from the International
Benedictine University of Sant' Anselmo.
to Indiana in 1966, he served as assistant dean of students and chairman of the
division of religion at St. Meinrad College. In 1971, he was director of the
first national conference for seminary spiritual directors and coordinated the
founding of the Midwest Association of Seminary Spiritual Directors.
same year, he began 16 years of service as president-rector of St. Meinrad
School of Theology, the last five of which he also served as president-rector
of the college and taught courses on priestly ministry and spirituality.
John Paul II appointed then-Father Buechlein as the third bishop of the Diocese
of Memphis, Tennessee, in 1987. Five years later he was named archbishop of
are his brother, Charles, and nieces and nephews.