Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, Regional Bishop for Essex County, The Most Reverend Edgar Moreira da Cunha, SDV, was born in Riachao do Jacuipe, Bahia, Brazil, on August 21, 1953, the son of Manoel and Josefa Moreira.
He attended local schools in Nova Fatima, Bahia, including the minor seminary (or Vocationary) of the Vocationist Fathers in Riachao do Jacuipe. There he joined the Vocationist Fathers, also known as the Society of Divine Vocations, a religious congregation founded in Italy in 1920 to serve the poor and to promote vocations. He is a graduate of the Universidade Catolica do Salvador with a degree in Philosophy, and he studied for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, New Jersey, graduating in 1982 with a Master of Divinity degree.
Earlier, in 1978, Bishop da Cunha, then a Vocationist seminarian, joined the Vocationist community at St. Michael Church, Newark. While attending Immaculate Conception Seminary, he served in the parish, teaching catechism and working in youth ministry on weekends.
Bishop da Cunha was ordained to the priesthood for the Society of Divine Vocations, in the Church of St. Michael, Newark, by Bishop Joseph A. Francis, S.V.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, on March 27, 1982. Following his ordination he served as a parochial vicar of St. Michael Church, Newark, and as director of vocations for his Congregation. In 1983, when the Archdiocese entrusted Saint Nicholas Parish, Palisades Park, to the Vocationist Fathers, Bishop da Cunha was transferred there to serve as parochial vicar and vice superior of the local community and at the same time continued his ministry of promoting vocations.
During his time as vocation director he was very active and served on the board of the Eastern Religious Vocations Directors Association. In 1987 he was appointed pastor of St. Nicholas Parish. In 1992 he was elected secretary of the Council of the Vocationist Delegation in the United States.
From 1994 until 2000, Bishop da Cunha served as novice master and director of the Vocationary, the house of formation that the Society maintains in Florham Park, N.J. 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. While in Florham Park, he continued serving the Portuguese, Brazilians, Hispanics and Italians of Palisades Park, Newark, Paterson and Hillside. He returned to Saint Michael Church Newark as pastor, in 2000.
Bishop da Cunha had been instrumental in establishing a Portuguese-language Mass in Palisades Park for the immigrants from Brazil living in Fairview, Cliffside Park and surrounding towns. Most of his priestly life has been spent in service in the Archdiocese of Newark.
Edgar M. da Cunha's appointment as Titular Bishop of Ucres and Auxiliary Bishop of Newark was announced by the Holy See on June 27, 2003, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was Ordained a Bishop on September 3rd, 2003, at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Basilica; and was appointed Regional Bishop for Essex County on October 15, 2003.
Bishop da Cunha is presently a member of the Archdiocesan Board of Consultors, Presbyteral Council, and the Clergy Personnel Board; the NJCC Board of Bishops and NJCC Public Policy Committee; the USCCB Committee on the Church in Latin America; and Committee on Migration. He is also Coordinator of the Evangelization Task Force; and Chairman of the Executive Committee (New Energies - Parish Transition Project).