2012 year in Review

Year in review 2012Thumb

Year in review 2012Thumb2012 was a memorable year for the Diocese of Syracuse and the Universal Church. Here, a look back at some highlights from the past year.


   Pope Benedict XVI named 22 new cardinals on Jan. 6, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.

   St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica renamed the Family Medicine Center in honor of the late Sister Rose Vincent Gleason, OSF, former president and CEO of St. Elizabeth’s.

   More than 200 pilgrims from the Diocese of Syracuse, including Bishop Robert Cunningham, attended the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan 23.

   A Mass honoring soon-to-be saint Marianne Cope’s birthday and feast day was celebrated at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in Syracuse on Jan. 23.

   Sister Monica Nortz, CSJ, started the spring semester as the Syracuse liaison for St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry.

   The Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Syracuse hosted its annual Light the Way Dinner on Jan. 27 to kick off Catholic Schools Week. Father Charles Vavonese; Le Moyne College; Sister Harriet Hamilton, OSF; John and Patti Dowd; Josephine Rabideau and Joseph White were all honored at the dinner for their various contributions toward furthering Catholic education in the diocese.

   St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center held a ribbon cutting and blessing ceremony for its new Ralph and Christina Nappi Emergency Services Building Jan. 30. Bishop Robert Cunningham performed the blessing.


   Seton Catholic Central launched a $225,000 capital campaign to upgrade the high school’s four science labs.

   Father Champlin’s Guardian Angel Society, which raises funds for tuition assistance for students attending Cathedral Academy at Pompei, Bishop Ludden, Bishop Grimes and Christian Brothers Academy, celebrated its 15th anniversary and held its annual Sweet Cabaret fundraiser.

   Bishop Cunningham joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in defending Catholics’ conscience rights. In a letter distributed to churches and published in the Sun on Feb. 2, Bishop Cunningham addressed “an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith”: “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. … We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law.”

   On Feb. 10, President Barack Obama outlined a plan that would allow religious employers not to offer contraceptive coverage to their employees, but would compel insurance companies to do so. In a statement published in the Feb. 16 issue of the Sun, Bishop Cunningham said the President’s attempt to accommodate the Church’s objection left “many unresolved situations and unanswered questions.”

   Bishop Cunningham celebrated the annual World Marriage Day Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse on Feb. 12. More than 80 couples from across the diocese were celebrated for their marriages of 25, 50 and even 75 years.


   On March 3, 560 teens representing close to 40 parishes of the diocese gathered at Bishop Grimes Prep in Syracuse for the annual Race 4 the Cross youth rally.

  The Rite of Election was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse on March 4.

   Bishop Robert Cunningham, along with 185 students, teachers, diocesan staff and others from the Syracuse Diocese, traveled to Albany to participate in Public Policy Day on March 13.

   During a Mass on March 17 at Boys Town, the Archdiocese of Omaha opened the cause for sainthood for the founder Thomas F. Price.

   The U.S. bishops urged Catholics and “all people of faith” to observe March 30 as a day of prayer and fasting for religious freedom and conscience protection.

   The fourth annual IGNITE Catholic Men’s Conference was held at the SRC Arena in Syracuse March 31.

   At Unity Acres’ annual fundraiser dinner on April 19, Bob and Betty Belge, Mark Capone and Mary Klein Maples were honored for their contributions to the home for the homeless in Orwell.  

   Governor Dan Malloy enacted legislation April 25, making Connecticut the 17th state to repeal the death penalty.


   Bishop Cunningham announced seven new clergy appointments. Father Peter Worn was appointed pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Camillus, Father Thomas McGrath was named administrator of St. Mary of the Lake Church in Skaneateles, Father Darr Schoenhofen was named administrator of St. John the Evangelist Church in Bainbridge and St. Agnes Mission in Afton, Father John Canorro was named pastor of Christ Our Light Church in Pulaski and St. Anne, Mother of Mary Church in Mexico, Deacon Gregory Cross was appointed Director of Priest Personnel, Father Mark Gantley would return to Hawaii to serve as Judicial Vicar and Father Jozef Mucha would return to his ministry in the Diocese of Rzeszow, Poland.  

   Father Jim Mathews, pastor at St. Lucy’s Church in Syracuse, was honored with the Dorothy Day Award at a dinner held at the parish on May 3.  
   On May 12, Bishop Cunningham ordained five new permanent deacons for the Diocese of Syracuse at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Deacon Robert Burke was assigned to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse, Deacon Dare Dutter to Holy Cross Church in DeWitt, Deacon Paul Lehman to St. Mary’s Church in Hamilton, Deacon David Losito to St. Margaret’s Church in Mattydale and Deacon Mark Shiner to the Newman Community at Colgate University in Hamilton.

   Bishop Cunningham commissioned more than 50 men and women as lay ministers on May 20 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.

   Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler; Father Thomas Ryan, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville; and David and Cindy Hoyne, owners of Kitty Hoynes Pub and Restaurant in Syracuse, were honored at Catholic Charities of Onondaga County’s 27th annual House of Providence Dinner on May 23.


   Bishop Cunningham spoke about the religious freedom implications of the HHS mandate during the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally on June 8 at the James M. Hanley U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in Syracuse.
   A celebration of Corpus Christi was held on June 10, beginning with Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse with Bishop Cunningham, followed by a Eucharistic procession throughout the city and culminating with Benediction at the Franciscan Church of the Assumption.
   On June 17, seminarian Jason Hage received the Rite of Admission to Candidacy during a Mass celebrated by Bishop Cunningham at Holy Cross Church in DeWitt.

   Bishop Cunningham marked the beginning of the Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and advocacy for religious freedom called for by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on June 21 with a Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.

   Fidelis Care, the New York State Catholic Health Plan, announced the distribution of $100,000 from its Community Grant Fund to benefit Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Syracuse, $10,000 to support Franciscan Northside Ministries, $4,000 to support Amaus Health Services at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and $6,000 for Cortland-Chenango Rural Services.


   Sister Mariana Thayer, O.P., a former member of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in the Diocese of Syracuse, professionally professed a simple vow of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Dominican Sister of Saint Cecilia Congregation on July 25 in Nashville, Tennessee.

On July 21, Pope Benedict XVI named Father Borys Gudziak, a Ukrainian Catholic priest born in Syracuse, to be the top bishop for Ukrainian Catholics in France.

   Project Rachel Ministry offered training and a two day workshop on July 23 for diocesan staff, including 18 priests and the bishop, to raise awareness of people within their parish that are suffering emotional and spiritual trauma following an abortion.


   In an Aug. 3 letter to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called on Congress to address the crisis in health care sparked by the contraceptive/sterilization coverage mandate announced a year ago by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

   Barbara Sugar was appointed to the position of principal at Trinity Catholic School in Oswego, succeeding Joe Lazarski, who had served as principal since 2010.

   In partnership with senior housing company Hearth Management, LLC, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities held a groundbreaking ceremony in Salina on Aug. 16 for “Franciscan Villa,” a future residence for the sisters.

   On Aug. 22, sisters, priests and laypeople gathered at St. Lucy’s Church in Syracuse to kick off a “Nuns on the Bus” tour around the city, modeled after a national tour organized by NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, D.C., aimed at drawing attention to negative effects of the proposed budget cuts on people with middle and low incomes.


   On Sept. 8, Bishop Cunningham and church and town officials in Vestal broke ground for the new Our Lady of Sorrows Church. The church will seat more than 600 people and a late 2013 completion is anticipated.

   Pope Benedict appointed Bishop Cunningham as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Rochester on Sept. 21, upon accepting the resignation of Bishop Matthew H. Clark, Bishop of Rochester. Bishop Cunningham remains Bishop for the Diocese of Syracuse.

   On Sept. 27, the Bishops of New York State, in collaboration with the New York State Council of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education released The Catechetical Leader in the Third Millennium, and a companion implementation document, the Comprehensive Plan for the Formation of Catechetical Leaders for the Third Millennium.


   Oct. 7 was designated by the U.S. Bishops as Respect Life Sunday in the United States.

   In accordance with his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith, a time for all Catholics to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013.

   Seven new saints were proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome on Oct. 21, including St. Marianne Cope, a Sister of St. Francis who ministered in Central New York before moving to Hawaii to serve patients with Hansen’s disease, and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, a 17th-century Mohawk woman born near Albany who converted to the Catholic faith before moving to Canada.

   Over 900 Catholic women from all over the diocese gathered for the third annual Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference sponsored by the Diocesan Commission on Women in the Church and Society on Oct. 27.


   To encourage Catholics to deepen their faith, Pope Benedict XVI granted plenary indulgences, or a complete remission of temporal punishment due to sin, for Catholics who fulfill special requirements during the Year of Faith.

   Effective Nov. 1, Father Mark Kaminski was appointed the new pastor of St Anthony-St. Agnes Church in Utica, by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham.

   Six new cardinals from four different continents were named by Pope Benedict XVI on Nov. 24.

   Parishes, schools and families throughout the diocese reached out in numerous ways to individuals devastated by Hurricane Sandy by collecting cleaning supplies, Halloween candy and tools.

   U.S. bishops endorsed sainthood for Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement. The endorsement was announced at a canonically required consultation on Nov. 13.

   Over 200 young people participated in the first middle school youth rally hosted by the Syracuse Diocese at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Liverpool on Nov. 2.


   Catholic leaders, priests, chaplains and personnel from Catholic Charities gathered with other religious leaders and a shocked nation to offer prayers and emotional support to the residents of Newton, Conn., following the tragic shooting of eighteen children and six adults on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, urged mourners to reach out for the strength and peace that can only be found in Christ to deal with such a devastating tragedy.

   Liverpool High School students, in collaboration with the school’s Student and Chamber Choir and Adi Muhovic, 17-year-old foreign exchange student from Prague, Czech Republic, celebrated a Czech Christmas Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday Dec. 16.

   Lay volunteers from more than 60 parishes across the diocese received Immaculata Awards at a special vespers service and ceremony on Dec. 9 at the Cathedral in Syracuse.

   The food pantry at the Franciscan Church of the Assumption in Syracuse issued an emergency appeal for immediate and ongoing financial support to avoid closure in 2013.

   Students known as the “Rosary 10” asked residents of Onondaga Country to Light A Candle for Peace on Dec 19.

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