|Birth: ||May 23, 1922|
|Death: ||Mar. 11, 2011|
Father Phil Cunningham, CSP, was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on May 23, 1922, the oldest in a family of two boys and four girls. After completing one year at Trinity College there, he moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1941. During World War II he served for three years in the Army Air Corps and then completed his college program at UCLA, graduating in 1949. His contact with the Paulists at UCLA led him to apply to the community. He made his first profession on September 8, 1950, and was ordained a Catholic priest on May 3, 1956, with classmates Fathers Tom Connellan, Walter Anthony, Bill Cantwell, Rudy Vorisek, Joe Mahon, Jim McQuade, Kevin Devine, Dave O'Brien, Jack Mulhall, and Ellwood Kieser. This group of eleven has proved to be the largest class ever of surviving Paulists
Father Phil's first assignment was to Good Shepherd Church in Manhattan. In his eight years there he was noted for his work with young actors, some of whom went on to Broadway and Hollywood. In 1963 he went to Caracas, Venezuela to explore Paulist prospects for engaging in Newman ministry there. He then spent two years on the parish staff at Old St. Mary's in San Francisco. Perhaps his most memorable assignment was to The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where from 1966 to 1978 he was very successful ministering to both the faculty and students. He also found time while there to earn a master's degree in liberal arts.
Father Phil then spent two years on the staff of Santa Susanna's parish in Rome before returning to campus ministry at the University of California at San Diego for eight years. After a short time on the parish staff of St. Cyril's in Tucson, he retired to the Paulist rectory in San Francisco. From 1989 to 2005 Father Phil volunteered to edit an in-house journal for the Paulist community entitled "Intra-Com." This provided an invaluable opportunity for Paulists to exchange views on various subjects of contemporary interest. It appeared four times a year as an 8.5 by 11 inch publication of sixteen pages. Father Cunningham also published a great deal, including three books by Paulist Press: "Exploring Scripture: How the Bible Came to Be" (1992), "Mark: The Good News Preached to the Romans" (1995), and "A Believer's Search for the Jesus of History" (1999).
In 2006 the steps and hills of San Francisco proved too difficult for him to negotiate, so Father Phil accepted his increasing limitation and moved to the Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. Phil read and kept in touch with the church, the world, and, of course the community. His last six months were terribly confining; even with a walker movement became too difficult. He passed away on March 11, 2011, two months short of his 90th birthday and having served as a Paulist priest for nearly 55 years.
Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
San Mateo County
Created by: Paulist Archives
Record added: Aug 23, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95848169
Rest In Peace, Father Phillip!|
Added: Nov. 1, 2012