Tag Archives: Bishop Cunningham

Waiting in the wings…

“Dearly beloved, these, our brothers, standing here today in the presence of the Church are being recommended to us and to you for admission as candidates for Holy Orders.” Bishop Cunningham’s homily to the candidates may have followed the rubric to the “T”, but it carried all the weight the occassion deserved:  eight men and their supportive wives, who have been earnestly dedicated to intensive study and formation for the Permanent Diaconate, stepped out from the wings today and proclaimed that they were prepared to “complete their preparation so that in due time through Holy Orders they will be prepared to assume ministry with the Church.”

We congratulate these eight men, called to serve in the Church through their service to the Eucharistic Table, the Word and Acts of Charity.  In just six short months, they will stand beside us, as the bishop proclaimed, Aware of the Lord’s concern for his flock and realizing the needs of the Church, our brothers consider themselves fully ready to respond generously to the call of the Lord.”

Posted by Dc. Tim McNerney at Holy Cross Church, Dewitt, NY


The afternoon had been advertised as:  an “Afternoon of Prayer & Sharing at Christ the King Retreat House” and an opportunity to enjoy a light lunch with Bishop Cunningham on Saturday, June 27th at 1:00PM.  The gathering was just one of many that our Most Reverend Robert J. Cunningham had been holding with groups throughout the diocese since his installation as bishop.  I was looking forward to seeing so many of my brother deacons and their wives.  However, I never expected to plumb the essence of ministerial  perfection…


St. Gregory of Nyssa

Our gathering opened with an LOH daytime prayer variation:  psalm, short reading and then comments from Bishop Cunningham.  His remarks were complimentary–thanking the Deacon Community for their ministry of Word & Charity, commending our wives for their support and service, as well.  However, the heart of his address focused on maintaining our healthy relationship with Jesus Christ–particularly through daily prayer and recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours.  In essence, Bishop Cunningham asserted, “Christ should be manifest in our whole life.”

On reflection later that day, my thoughts turned to Saint Gregory of Nyssa’s treatise on Christian Perfection in Tuesday’s (12th Week in Ordinary Time) Office of Readings:

The life of the Christian has three distinguishing aspects:  deeds, words and thought. [..] So when one of these results in our acting or speaking or thinking, we must make sure that all our thoughts, words and deeds are controlled by the divine ideal, the revelation of Christ. For then our thoughts, words and deeds will not fall short of the nobility of their implications.

Yes, the life of the ordained minister is challenged at every turn. However, if we maintain a healthy, vital relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we possess the “divine ideal”, touching “The mind of Christ [..] that inspires us to moderation and goodness in our behavior.” (PG 46, 283-286)

Relationship: in our parish families, among our lay and ordained ministers… but most importantly with our Lord himself.  A timely reminder from the new shepherd of our diocese;  a reminder most certainly grounded in his experience and the wisdom of our Church Fathers; a powerful reminder on the essence of Christian perfection…