Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Robert J. Cunningham as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Rochester upon accepting the resignation of Bishop Matthew H. Clark, Bishop of Rochester. Bishop Cunningham will remain Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse.
The appointment was effective Friday, September 21, 2012. Bishop Cunningham will oversee all aspects of the 12-county Diocese of Rochester until a new bishop is named at a later date. Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Hart, vicar general and moderator of the Pastoral Center under Bishop Clark, will be Bishop Cunningham’s delegate in the daily governance of the Diocese of Rochester.
Bishop Clark has served the people of Rochester for more than 33 years. He submitted his resignation on his 75th birthday on July 15, 2012, as is required of all diocesan bishops under Canon law. He was the 8th Bishop of Rochester.
“I am greatly honored, and humbled, to serve as Apostolic Administrator of this diocese,” said Bishop Cunningham. “I ask for the prayers of all that I might serve you well, as long as need be. I will be traveling weekly between the Dioceses of Syracuse and Rochester, and hope to make acquaintance with many new friends. Above all I want to help wherever I can to be the solid bridge that spans the time between Bishop Clark and whomever the 9th Bishop of Rochester may be. I do not know when that will happen, but I do know I am at this Diocese’s service as long as it takes.”
The Apostolic Nuncio, the Pope’s representative and ambassador in the United States, and the Holy See’s Congregation for Bishops are responsible for identifying possible candidates to be the new Bishop of Rochester. They present their thoughts directly to the Holy Father, who makes the final determination and appointment. The process can take several months.