Robert Joseph Cunningham

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Robert Joseph Cunningham
Bishop of Syracuse
Bishop Cunningham Alibrandi Catholic Center Syracuse University Visit.jpg
Bishop Robert Cunningham celebrates Mass on Parents Weekend at the Alibrandi Catholic Center, Newman Center for Syracuse University
Archdiocese New York
Diocese Syracuse
Appointed April 21, 2009
Installed May 26, 2009
Predecessor James Michael Moynihan
Ordination May 24, 1969
by Bernard Joseph McLaughlin
Consecration May 18, 2004
by Edward Egan, Henry J. Mansell, and Gerald Barbarito
Personal details
Born (1943-06-18) June 18, 1943 (age 74)
Buffalo, New York
Nationality  American
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Previous post Bishop of Ogdensburg (2004—2009)
Styles of
Robert Joseph Cunningham
Coat of arms of Robert Joseph Cunningham.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

Robert Joseph Cunningham (born June 18, 1943) is the tenth and current bishop of Syracuse.


Early life and education[edit]

Robert Cunningham was born in Buffalo, New York to Cecil and Grace Cunningham; he has a brother, Patrick, and a sister, Eileen. He attended St. John the Baptist Parish School and the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary before entering St. John Vianney Seminary (currently Christ the King Seminary) in East Aurora, from where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees.

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Cunningham was ordained to the priesthood by bishop Bernard McLaughlin on May 24, 1969, in St. Joseph Cathedral, and then served as associate pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church in Kenmore. In 1972, he was named assistant pastor at his home parish of St. John the Baptist, also in Kenmore.

He became private secretary to bishop Edward Head and assistant chancellor of Buffalo in 1974. Cunningham, after earning his licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of America in 1978, was made a judge of the marriage tribunal and vice-chancellor of the diocese. He was raised to the rank of Monsignor in 1984, and then full chancellor (1985) and vicar general (1986) of Buffalo. Niagara University awarded him an honorary doctorate in humane letters in 1991.

In January 2002, Cunningham was named pastor of St. Louis Church in Buffalo. He was administrator of the diocesan College of Consultors from 2003 to 2004, as well as sitting on the boards of Christ the King Seminary, Catholic Charities, Baker Victory Services, the Cantalician Center, and the former Wadhams Hall Seminary College. A charter member of the Kenmore Mercy Hospital Foundation Board, he was given the Sister Mary Mechtilde Memorial Award by the Foundation Board in 2004.

Bishop of Ogdensburg[edit]

On March 9, 2004, Cunningham was appointed the thirteenth bishop of Ogdensburg by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 18 from Cardinal Edward Egan, with archbishop Henry J. Mansell and bishop Gerald Michael Barbarito serving as co-consecrators, at St. Mary's Cathedral.

In 2007, he was awarded another honorary doctorate in humane letters from St. John’s University in Staten Island.

Bishop of Syracuse[edit]

On 21 April 2009, it was announced that Cunningham was to be the tenth bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse. He was installed on May 26, 2009.[1]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
James Michael Moynihan
Bishop of Syracuse
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Gerald Michael Barbarito
Bishop of Ogdensburg
Succeeded by
Terry R. LaValley