Bishop Robert J. Cunningham

Diocese of Syracuse

Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, son of the late Cecil and Grace Cunningham, was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He received his early education at St. John the Baptist Parish Elementary School and the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary, Buffalo. His college and seminary education continued at St. John Vianney Seminary, East Aurora, where he earned both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees. In 1978 he received a Licentiate Degree in Canon Law from Catholic University of America.

Bishop Cunningham was ordained to the priesthood by Auxiliary Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin on May 24, 1969 at St. Joseph New Cathedral in Buffalo. His first assignment was associate pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Kenmore. In 1972 he became the assistant pastor at his home parish of St. John the Baptist, Kenmore.

In the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Cunningham has served as Chairman of Region II (Province of New York). He has served on the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as the Committee for Priorities and Plans, the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Sub-committee on Native American Catholics.

Bishop Cunningham was presented with an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Niagara University, Niagara Falls in 1991 and St. John’s University, Staten Island in 2007 and Canisius College in 2009. The Kenmore Mercy Hospital Foundation Board honored him for his years of service with the Sister Mechtilde Award in 2004. In 2008, Bishop Cunningham received the Cure of Ars Award from Christ the King Seminary.


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