Tribute: Diocese, cathedral say farewell to Canon Jason Leo

Tribute: Diocese, cathedral say farewell to Canon Jason Leo

Tribute: Diocese, cathedral say farewell to Canon Jason Leo 300 300 Episcopalians in Connection

By Bishop Ken Price

On Sunday, July 25, Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati celebrated with thanksgiving the end of the tenure of the interim Dean Jason Leo, who will be moving to Miami, FL to become the Provost of the Cathedral there. In addition to concluding his term of interim dean, this service also marked the conclusion of Jason’s position of Canon for Transitions and Congregational Vitality for the diocese.

Canon Leo was a perfect choice to lead congregations to vitality because, along with the bishops, he has visited every congregation in this diocese. He came to Southern Ohio in 1994 and in his position as Director of Youth Ministry reshaped the summer camp program at Procter. Realizing that our clergy are vital sources of recruitment for the youth camps at the Procter Center, he recruited chaplains for each session and took on the role of camp director himself. He also led numerous diocesan youth retreats, shared in Provincial and national youth gatherings and traveled extensively all over the diocese to recruit youth.

In 1998 Jason was called as rector of Trinity Church, London, where he served while continuing to provide leadership at nearby Procter as it underwent significant physical changes. In 2000 he was called to be rector of Calvary Church, Cincinnati, bringing his renowned sense of spiritual vitality and passion for pastoral care to this congregation for many years.

In 2016 Jason was appointed by Bishop Breidenthal to the diocesan position of Missioner for Congregational Vitality, and in 2018 was named Canon for Congregational Vitality and Clergy Transition. In that role he has shepherded numerous congregations in their search for a new priest, and been a wise council to numerous priests seeking to relocate. Jason has never been known to mince words and congregations soon began to know that if he brought them candidates, they could trust that careful vetting had been done and whomever they called would be an asset to the diocese. That same reputation was known by other transition officers around the church. Southern Ohio is stronger today because of Jason’s work.

Upon the departure of the most recent dean of Christ Church Cathedral in March 2020, Bishop Breidenthal asked Jason to step into the position of interim dean, while still retaining his diocesan responsibilities. This was a wise and ironic choice since it was his father, the Very Rev. James Leo, who had served as the dean when Bishop Herbert Thompson designated Christ Church as our Cathedral. In his time there, Jason strengthened the ties between the Cathedral and the diocese, and prepared it well for its new dean who is, ironically, Bishop Thompson’s son, Owen. And so it is that we are a stronger diocese because of the overlapping ministries of the Thompson and Leo families.

Bishop Price is installed as an Honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral by Interim Dean Jason Leo and Honorary Canon George Hill, on Sunday, July 25.

Jason and I began our ministries in Southern Ohio just a few months apart, working together out of the Bishop’s Center in Columbus for many years. We also share a passion for the Procter Center. I’ve been delighted that we’ve ended up working together again these last several months as I have served as Acting Bishop. My final visitation in this role was scheduled for the Cathedral, and I was quite pleasantly surprised and honored to be named an Honorary Canon by Jason that day, in his last act as Interim Dean. It is fitting that as Jason follows his new calling and I return to retirement in the next few weeks upon the arrival of our new Provisional Bishop, we now coincidentally both end our time here together as well.

The Diocese of Southern Ohio is stronger and staffed by strong clergy, largely thanks to the work of the Rev. Canon Jason Leo. He will be greatly missed.

The Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr.

The Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr. currently serves as Bishop in Southern Ohio. He returns soon to full time retirement, but along with Bishops Nedi Rivera and Wendall Gibbs, will continue as an Assisting Bishop of the diocese.