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John Cummins Edit Profile

bishop , Catholic priest

John Stephen Cummins is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.


John Cummins was born in Berkeley, California, to Michael and Mary (née Connolly) Cummins.


He completed his theological studies at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, earning a Master of Divinity degree in 1953.


He served as Bishop of Oakland from 1977 to 2003. He received his early education at the parochial school of St. Augustine's Church in Oakland. He began his studies for the priesthood at St. Joseph's College (California) in Mountain View, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949.

On January 24, 1953, Cummins was ordained a priest by Bishop Hugh Aloysius Donohoe at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. His first assignment was as a curate at Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco, where he remained for four years. He also served as chaplain at the Newman Centre of San Francisco State University.

He taught at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland from 1957 until 1962, when he became chancellor of the Diocese of Oakland. He was named a domestic prelate in 1963. In addition to his duties as chancellor, Cummins coordinated the Social Justice and Ecumenical Commissions, and oversaw the diocesan insurance program.

Cummins continued to serve as chancellor until 1971, when he was named executive director of the California Catholic Conference. In that capacity, he channeled the functions of the conference by providing liaison with state departments and with the state legislature, disseminating information to Catholic associations and organizations and to other state conferences and the United States Catholic Conference, and coordinating interdiocesan activities in the areas of education and welfare. Sacramento\r\nOn February 26, 1974, Cummins was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento and titular bishop of Lambaesis by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 16 from Bishop Alden John Bell, with Bishops Floyd Lawrence Begin and Hugh Donohoe serving as co-consecrators, at the Memorial Auditorium.

As an auxiliary bishop, he continued to serve as executive director of the California Catholic Conference, a position which he held until 1977. Oakland\r\nFollowing the death of Bishop Begin, Cummins was named the second Bishop of Oakland on June 30, 1977. His installation took place on June 30 of that year.

He was president of the California Catholic Conference from 1988 to 1997. He was chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) from 1995 to 1999, and served as a delegate to several synods in Rome.

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Cummins resigned as Bishop of Oakland on October 1, 2003.


  • Certified Public Accountant New York. Bar: New York 1955, United States Supreme Court 1964.


  • Other Work

    • Contributor articles to professional journals.


As a member of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cummins served as chairman of the Liturgy Committee (1981-84), Laity Committee (1988-91), and Migration & Refugee Services Committee (1995-98).


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