SYRACUSE, NY – Most Rev. James M. Moynihan, the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse died on Monday March 6, 2017, at the age of 84.
A native of Rochester, NY, Bishop Moynihan served as bishop for 14 years.
“Today, we all join in mourning the death of Most Rev. James M. Moynihan who served as the 9th bishop of Syracuse from 1995-2009. In the 84th year of his life and the 60th year of his priesthood, the Lord has called Bishop Moynihan to Himself,” Bishop Robert Cunningham said. “We thank him for a lifetime of service to the Church and in a very special way for his service to the Diocese of Syracuse. We pray now that the evening has come, the fever of his life is over, his work is done and that God will give him a safe lodging, holy rest and peace forever.”
Bishop Moynihan was appointed Bishop of Syracuse on April 4, 1995 and was ordained and installed on May 29, 1995 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Downtown Syracuse.
Bishop Moynihan immediately announced three priorities for the diocese: 1) Catholic Education 2) Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life and 3) the Promotion of Life.
During his tenure, Moynihan was the first bishop to lead prayerful processions to Planned Parenthood offices for the conversion of hearts and the protection of the unborn.
He traveled to both Africa and Poland to recruit priests to serve in the diocese.
He launched a Heritage Campaign, the largest campaign in diocesan history which raised more than $42 million.
He secured the Robert and Catherine McDevitt bequest valued at more than $30 million to care for priests and meet the needs of the diocese.
He initiated a Catholic Education Fund securing a $1 million gift from Joseph and Elaine Scuderi, now the Scuderi Fund, to assist with tuition assistance.
Bishop Moynihan released a Pastoral Letter in 2001, Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry which outlined a parish restructuring plan for the diocese in response to the declining number of clergy and changing population in its seven counties.
This reconfiguration plan laid the groundwork for the pastoral planning process that is still taking place today.
In 2003, Bishop Moynihan faced one of the greatest challenges in the church, the clergy sex abuse crisis.
In October, 2003, he publicly apologized for the harm caused to victims of sexual abuse and asked any individual who had been harmed to report their abuse.
He established a Diocesan Review Board to review claims of abuse, a safe environment program that requires criminal background checks and training for all clergy, religious, employees and volunteers who work with children as well as an Office of Victim Assistance to serve as a point of contact for any individual who has been harmed by a member of the clergy.
In 2005, Bishop Moynihan traveled to the Vatican for the beatification of Blessed Marianne Cope who was later canonized Saint Marianne Cope, the first saint of the Diocese of Syracuse.
In 2006, Bishop Moynihan announced Pope Benedict XVI approved his request to name 11 monsignors, the first time priests were elevated to the title of monsignor in the diocese in more than 30 years.
In 2007 Bishop Moynihan turned 75 years old and as required, submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI.
He retired upon the installation of Bishop Robert J. Cunningham on May 26, 2009.
Bishop Moynihan’s episcopal motto was Support One Another in Love which was taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Eph.4:2).
He believed it expressed his deep belief and faith that all of us, as followers of the Lord Christ are bound together and are therefore compelled and required to do all that we can to support one another in love.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Viewing, Vigil, Funeral and Burial: The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 259 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse, NY – Thursday, March 9
Reception of the Body: 3 p.m.
Viewing continues to 7 p.m.
Vigil for Bishop Moynihan: 7 p.m.
Friday, March 10
Viewing 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Mass of Christian Burial: 11 a.m.
Celebrant: His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Burial follows in the Cathedral Crypt