New Bishop for Galloway
Pope John Paul II has appointed Mgr. John Cunningham as the new Bishop of Galloway. The new Bishop-elect succeeds Bishop Maurice Taylor who will retire after 23 years as Bishop.
The appointment was warmly welcomed by the President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien who said;
"I am delighted that Mgr. John Cunningham will become the next Bishop of Galloway. Although I know he will be sadly missed by the diocese of Paisley, their loss is Galloway's gain. His experience gained running our National Marriage Tribunal and many parishes together with his Canon Law qualifications will make him all too aware of the need to support marriage and the family. Happily, his appointment coincides, with a number of initiatives by the Bishops' Conference aimed at doing exactly that."
Cardinal O'Brien added;
"I look forward to welcoming him to the Bishops' Conference and to a long fruitful collaboration with him in the years that lie ahead."
Reacting to his appointment, Mgr. Cunningham said:
"My appointment as Bishop of Galloway took me completely by surprise. My initial reaction was one of shock. When I had time to reflect however, I came to realise how privileged I am to be called to serve God as a successor of the Apostles. It is an awesome thought, but that is what a Bishop is. It is my hope that. With the help and support of my brother priests in Galloway, I will be able to serve well all the people placed in my care."
Mgr. Cunningham is presently Parish Priest of St. Patrick's Parish in Greenock and Vicar General of the Diocese of Paisley. His loss to the Diocese of Paisley was commented on by Bishop John Mone who said;
"I am truly sad to be losing a priest who has been my Vicar General but also a good and trusted friend. I could not have asked for a wiser or more loyal companion. He is well able and fully competent to take on the role he has been asked to accept. As well as his academic background his pastoral experience allow him to understand the challenges facing priests in parishes throughout the country."
Bishop Mone added; "It has been a long wait for Bishop Taylor and his Diocese. Let me assure them that Mgr. Cunningham has been worth waiting for - they will soon discover that for themselves. While I cannot say 'haste ye back' I can and do wish him every joy and blessing as he accepts this deeper call from the Lord, to serve the people of God in the Diocese of Galloway."
Galloway's retiring Bishop. Bishop Maurice Taylor welcomed his successor, saying;
"When I was appointed Bishop of Galloway in 1981, my predecessor greeted me with the words 'I'm glad it's you' then he added 'because it might have been somebody much worse'. I echo these words, but more positively, I am very pleased at the appointment of Mgr. John Cunningham since he is a good priest with excellent qualifications - a trained theologian and canon lawyer with long pastoral experience and administrative ability."
He continued; "The Bishop-elect and I have been friends since we were in the seminary together, he as a student and I as lecturer. I now welcome him as my successor and wish him blessings, success and happiness as he takes up his new and responsible ministry as Bishop of Galloway."
Notes to editors:
1. The Episcopal ordination will take place on Friday 28 May 2004 at 7pm at the Good Shepherd Cathedral in Ayr. The ordaining Bishop will be Cardinal O'Brien as Metropolitan, with the co-consecrators being Bishop Maurice Taylor and Bishop John Mone.
2. A JPEG image of Mgr. Cunningham is available from the Catholic Media Office - e-mail requests to (firstname.lastname@example.org)
3. Mgr. Cunningham, uniquely, is one of three brothers all of whom are priests in the Diocese of Paisley. His brothers are; Canon Thomas Cunningham, St. Cadoc's, Newton Mearns and Canon James Cunningham, St. James, Renfrew.
4. A biography of Mgr. Cunningham is shown below.
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
0141 221 1168
BIOGRAPHY. MGR. JOHN CUNNINGHAM
St. Mary's P.S. 1943-1949
Blairs College 1949-1954
St. Peter's College, Cardross 1954-1960
Scots College, Rome & Gregorian University 1960-1964
St. Mirin's Cathedral, Paisley 29 June 1961
Our Lady of Lourdes, Bishopton 1964-1969
Chaplain to Moredun Convent 1969-1974
St.Columba's, Renfrew 1974-1986
Officialis Scottish National Tribunal 1986-1992
(As Parish Priest)
St. Patrick's Greenock since 1992
Vicar General of Diocese of paisley since 1997
Prelate of Honour since 1999
Contact telephone number 01475 720223