By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
Msgr. Joseph J. Anderlonis, 64, whose appointment as Vicar for Consecrated Life for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was effective May 11, will continue as pastor of St. George Parish, Philadelphia, a Lithuanian personal parish he has shepherded for almost 27 years.
In his new duties he will represent the Archdiocese with the almost 90 religious orders and congregations for men and women present in the Archdiocese.
“I see my main role as being supportive of those who are called to religious life and encouraging people to follow that vocation,” he said. “Even though religious life has changed it is a very important ministry in the Church.”
Msgr. Anderlonis has deep ties in Philadelphia’s Lithuanian community. The eldest of the three sons of the late Joseph and Ida (Krautis) Anderlonis, his grandfather was a founding member of St. Andrew Parish, a Lithuanian personal parish where he was baptized and received his earliest education. His father’s family had roots in St. George Parish.
He finished elementary school at All Saints, then continued on to Father Judge High School, and in 1962 he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was sent to Rome and the North American College where he earned his licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained in Rome by then-Bishop, later Cardinal, James Hickey on Dec. 19, 1969.
After his return and a brief assignment at Most Precious Blood Parish, he served as associate pastor of Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, Chester, for four years and also served at Old St. Mary Parish and the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. He also served as chaplain and professor at Neumann College, Aston.
He was named pastor of St. George in 1982 and continuing his studies, he earned a doctorate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in 1987. He was named Honorary Prelate to His Holiness (monsignor) in 1998.
Earlier this year he was appointed a national adviser to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Cultural spanersity in the Church.
Among other past secondary assignments, he was assistant pastor at Holy Saviour Parish, Linwood; an approved advocate, Office of the Metropolitan Tribunal; archdiocesan judge, Office of the Metropolitan Tribunal; censor librorum, Office of the Chancellor; and national consultant, Lithuanian Apostolate.
Msgr. Anderlonis also serves as spiritual adviser to the Knights of Lithuania, a national organization of Lithuanian-Americans.
All of this he brings into his new duties as Vicar for Consecrated Life.
“I’ll try to take some of the teaching and pastoral experience with me, but I’ll be learning too,” he said. “Cardinal Rigali is a man who is concerned about spiritual values and I will try to fulfill the need.”
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.