Pope Francis appoints new bishop for Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse

Jun 4, 2019

The Roman Catholic Dioece of Syracuse announced Tuesday morning that Pope Francis has appointed a new bishop for the diocese. 

Bishop-elect Douglas John Lucia, 56, will become the 11th bishop of Syracuse. He succeeds Bishop Robert Cunningham, who submitted his resignation to the pope in June of 2018 when he turned 75. Canon law requires church officials to submit a resignation when they turn 75. Cunningham will continue to serve in the diocese until Bishop-elect Lucia is ordained. 

Credit Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse

Lucia is a North Country native. He was born in Plattsburgh and grew up in the nearby Town of Altona. He graduated from Wadhams Hall Seminary College in Ogdensburg in 1985, and received a Masters in Divinity from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y. in 1989. 

Lucia was first assigned as parochial vicar at St. Patrick's Church in Watertown in 1989, but was sent to the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ontario, Canada in 1990. He returned to the Ogdensburg diocese two years later and served as parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist Church in Plattsburgh before moving to St. Mary's Cathedral in Ogdensburg. 

From 1997 to 1999, Lucia studied canon law at Pontifical University at St. Thomas Aquine in Rome, Italy. Upon his return, he was named adjutant judicial vicar and vice chancellor. Lucia also served as administrator at St. Raphael's in Heuvelton and as part-time chaplaim at the Gouverneur Correctional Facility. 

In 2000, Lucia was appointed secretary to the bishop and was named diocesan director of vocations in 2003. From Sept. 2003 to Mar. 2004, he served as administrator of St. Mary's Church in Canton. In Sept. 2004, he was appointed as chancellor and episicopal vicar for Diocesan Services, and in 2005, he was given additional responsibilities as diocesan director of seminarians. 

In June 2006, Lucia was appointed pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Morristown and St. Peter's Church in Hammond, and was appointed diocesan director of the Office of Worship. 

In August 2008, he was appointed pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary's in Canton, where he served until June 2017, before being appointed as pastor of St. Mary's Church in Waddington and St. John the Baptist Church in Madrid. 

As bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse, Lucia will oversee more than 220,000 Catholics who live in the diocese, which covers Onondaga, Oswego, Oneida, Madison, Cortland, Chenango and Broome counties. His installation date has not yet been announced.