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Msgr. Cunningham Named Diocesan Administrator

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Diocesan Chancellor Robert Cunningham was named administrator of Buffalo's Roman Catholic Diocese Monday.

The selection was made by a group of eight priests known as the College of Consultors. Msgr. Cunningham will serve until the Pope names a successor to former Bishop Henry Mansell. He was installed as Archbishop of Hartford last week. Cunningham says he's humbled by his selection.

"I accept this call to further service," Cunningham said. "I promise to do my best to service the parishes and institutions of the Diocese of Buffalo until such time as the Holy Father appoints a new bishop to succeed Archbishop Mansell."

But Cunningham, who also serves as pastor of St. Louis Church downtown, says Buffalo area Catholics should not expect any major policy decisions from him.

"What's very interesting is that the diocesan administrator is not permitted to make any changes," Cunningham said. "He merely continues the ordinary work of the diocese. He doesn't change policies or procedures. He doesn't do anything that would prejudice the new bishop once he is appointed.

"It's business as usual."

There's no word on when Pope John Paul, II will appoint Buffalo's 13th bishop. Cunningham says the Pope's representative to the United States will assess the needs of the diocese and then recommend three names to the Vatican for consideration.