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Archives Father Lucia named Bishop of Syracuse

June 4, 2019

A priest from the Diocese of Ogdensburg has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new bishop for the RomanLucia Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. 

Bishop-elect Douglas John Lucia, 56, will become the 11th bishop of Syracuse, succeeding Bishop Robert J. Cunningham who has served the diocese since May 26, 2009. Bishop-elect Lucia will be ordained and installed at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception located in downtown Syracuse at a date soon to be determined. 

Bishop-elect Lucia currently serves as pastor of St. Mary’s in Waddington and St. John the Baptist in Madrid, and serves the diocese as judicial vicar and episcopal vicar for canonical affairs, as well as director of vocations and seminarians. 

I have known Bishop-elect Lucia since our seminary days,” said Bishop Terry R. LaValley, bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. “He is a trusted friend whose strong faith and deep love for the Church will become quickly evident to the faithful of the Diocese of Syracuse. He has held various positions here in the Diocese of Ogdensburg over his 30 years of priestly ministry. He is well-respected and loved by the clergy, religious, seminarians, diocesan staff, and parishioners. Personally, I am so grateful for the selfless assistance he has given to me.  He will be greatly missed. We have been so blessed. 

Bishop Cunningham submitted his intent to retire to the Holy Father upon his 75th birthday on June 18, 2018, as is required by canon law. He will continue to serve as the Apostolic Administrator until Bishop-elect Lucia’s ordination and installation. 

For the past ten years, the Diocese of Syracuse has been blessed with a shepherd who cares deeply for his people,” Bishop LaValley said. “Bishop Robert Cunningham has been a friend whose example continues to be an inspiration and support to this neighbor to the north. We congratulate him for his faithful leadership of the Church of Syracuse and wish him continued good health and well-deserved relaxation in retirement. 

Bishop-elect Lucia was born on March 17, 1963, the son of Leward and Betty (Pepin) Lucia in Plattsburgh. He and his twin brother and their sister and younger brother grew up in Altona. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Wadhams Hall Seminary College in May 1985 and a Masters in Divinity from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York. in May 1989. He was ordained to the Ministerial Priesthood at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg on May 20, 1989, by Most Reverend Stanislaus J. Brzana , DD, STD, Bishop of Ogdensburg. 

In his first assignment, Bishop-elect Lucia served as parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown. In 1990, he was sent to the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ontario, Canada for two years of service where he was parochial vicar at St. Columban’s Church in Cornwall. Upon returning to the Diocese of Ogdensburg, the bishop-elect became the parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist Church in Plattsburgh for three years. He was then assigned as a parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg.  

He became the associate secretary of the Matrimonial Tribunal in 1996. 
From 1997 to 1999, the bishop-elect was assigned to study canon law at the Pontifical University at St. Thomas Aquinas ( Angelicum ) in Rome. During the summer of 1998, he served as a parochial vicar of Holy Family Church in Watertown and worked part time for the Diocesan Tribunal Office.  

Upon the completion of his studies in June 1999, Bishop-elect Lucia was named adjutant judicial vicar and vice chancellor. He also served as administrator at St. Raphael’s in Heuvelton and as a part-time chaplain at the Gouverneur Correctional Facility. 

In 2000, he was appointed secretary to the bishop and in 2003 was named diocesan director of vocations. 

From September 2003 to March 2004, the bishop-elect served as administrator of St. Mary’s Church in Canton. In September 2004, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, then Bishop of Ogdensburg appointed him as chancellor and episcopal vicar for Diocesan Services. In 2005, he was given additional responsibilities as diocesan director of seminarians. 

In June 2006, while retaining his diocesan responsibilities, Bishop-elect Lucia was appointed pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Morristown and St. Peter’s Church in Hammond with its mission of St. Patrick’s Church in Rossie. He was also appointed diocesan director of the Office of Worship. 

In August 2008, the bishop-elect was appointed pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary’s in Canton, where he served until June 2017. During this time period, he served as the episcopal vicar for worship as well as the adjutant judicial vicar. 

In 2017, Bishop-elect Lucia was appointed pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Waddington and St. John the Baptist Church in Madrid and the judicial vicar of the diocese. He continued in his role of diocesan vocation director and director of seminarians. 

On June 4, Pope Francis appointed him to be the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse. As bishop of Syracuse, Bishop-elect Lucia will be the shepherd of over 220,000 Catholics who reside in seven counties of the diocese covering 5,479 square miles. 

Bishop-elect Lucia is a humble man of prayer who will bring a wealth of pastoral experience and a deep desire to share the Good News with all in the Diocese of Syracuse,” said Bishop LaValley. “Parish leaders and diocesan staff will experience him as a true servant leader and fine collaborator in his episcopacy. He will be a tireless shepherd of souls. We pray God bless him abundantly as he prepares to lead the Diocese of Syracuse. 

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