According to trusted Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo (“Whispers in the Loggia”), Newark Archbishop John Myers has named Auxiliary Bishop Edgar da Cunha as the archdiocese’s new vicar general.
For a decade, da Cunha has been Myers’ right hand man. Da Cunha has been silent while Myers has repeatedly endangered kids, broken church policies, deceived parishioners and the public about predator priests.
So how can giving da Cunha more responsibility make any sense or change whatsoever?
Myers could have brought in an untarnished outsider. Instead, he promotes a tarnished insider. This is "circling the wagons," not solving the crisis.
It’s also important to note that da Cunha is a religious order cleric. Religious orders are often even more secretive and reckless in predator priest cases than dioceses are.
Tons must be done to make the Newark archdiocese safer. Another opportunity to start this long, crucial process is being wasted.
June 27, 2003-New Auxiliary Bishop Named for Newark Archdiocese
Pope John Paul II has named as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark a Vocationist priest who has served minorities and the poor in the Archdiocese. The Holy Father today named Fr. Edgar da Cunha, SDV, (pronounced dah – Coon-ya) pastor of St. Michael’s Parish, Newark, to be an Auxiliary Bishop.
He is the first Brazilian-born priest to be named a bishop for service in the United States, and the first member of his religious congregation to be named a bishop.
Fr. da Cunha was ordained a priest on March 27, 1982 in Newark for the Society of Divine Vocations, a religious congregation founded in Italy in 1920 to serve the poor. Bishop-elect da Cunha has served his entire priestly life in the Archdiocese of Newark.
The 49 year-old Bishop-elect is the son of Josefa and Manuel da Cunha of Nova Fatima, Bahia, Brazil. He was born on August 21, 1953 and attended local schools. He is a graduate of the Universidade Catolica Fatima dos Salvados with a degree in Philosophy. He studied for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, NJ.
In making the announcement, Archbishop Myers stated: "The Holy Father’s appointment of Bishop-elect da Cunha is a great gift to the Archdiocese of Newark. He brings the dedication of both a zealous pastor and a committed religious to the Office of Bishop. In this time when the Church is acutely aware of her need for vocations, our new bishop-elect comes from a religious community whose apostolate is the fostering of vocations. Bishop-elect da Cunha also brings the care and compassion, the experience and wisdom, of serving those who speak English, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. We know God will enrich our Archdiocese and the Church with the blessing of his Episcopal ministry for many years to come.
“It is with great gratitude to God that we welcome Fr. da Cunha as Auxiliary Bishop of Newark.”
Bishop-elect da Cunha responded to the Holy Father's appointment by saying: "I thank the Holy Father for entrusting this important mission to me. I thank Archbishop Myers for his support and his trust and confidence in me. I look forward to working with him.
“When I came to this country my name was all I could say in English that the Americans could understand. I was welcomed into this country when I arrived here 25 years ago. I know how important it is to feel welcome when you are away from home. The church in this Archdiocese of Newark is a church of immigrants – a church that welcomes. I am glad I am now in a position where I can reciprocate the welcome.
"I want all the immigrants in the Archdiocese of Newark to know that I am one of them, one with them, and one for them. I find great joy and reward serving the poor and the needy. I have done that my whole life, and I hope to continue doing so.”
After ordination in 1982, Fr. da Cunha served as a parochial vicar at St. Michael’s Parish, Newark. He then served in St. Nicholas, Palisades Park, becoming pastor of the parish in 1987. Both parishes are staffed by priests from the Society of Divine Vocations. From 1994 until 2000, Fr. da Cunha served as director of the Vocationary, the house of formation that the Society maintains in Florham Park, NJ. In this role, he was responsible for leading young men through the discernment process and toward service in religious life with the Vocationist Fathers and Brothers. He returned to pastorship in 2000 as pastor of St. Michael’s Newark.
Bishop-elect da Cunha’s Episcopal Ordination is scheduled for Wednesday, September 3, 2003, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark.