Facebook Twitter Contact Safe Environment Intranet for Staff and Parishes The Cathedral of Christ the Light

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools


Bishop Emeritus John S. Cummins

You are here: Home / Diocese / Bishop of Oakland / Bishop Cummins Items / Bishop Emeritus John S. Cummins

Bishop Emeritus John S. Cummins

Bishop Cummins portrait



Appointed:   May 3, 1977

Installed:     June 30, 1977

Retired:       October 1, 2003


Bishop John Stephen Cummins was born (1928) and raised in Berkeley, California, the second son of Michael and Mary Cummins, both natives of Ireland. His sister, Mary McCarthy, still lives in the family home. His older brother, Monsignor Bernard A. Cummins, was Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco until his death in 1974.

Bishop Cummins was ordained to the priesthood on January 24, 1953 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. His first assignment was as Associate Pastor at Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco. He also served as Campus Minister (Newman Club) at San Francisco State University until he was transferred to Bishop O’Dowd High School, as faculty member, in 1957.

In 1962, while at O’Dowd, Father Cummins was named the first Chancellor of the newly created Diocese of Oakland. While serving as chancellor, Monsignor Cummins also served as the diocesan liaison to the three Catholic theological schools entering the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

In February, 1971, he was appointed Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops in Sacramento. On May 16, 1974 he was ordained Bishop and Auxiliary to Bishop Alden Bell in Sacramento.

Upon the death of Bishop Floyd L. Begin, founding bishop of the Diocese of Oakland, Bishop Cummins was appointed the second Bishop of Oakland and installed on June 30, 1977.

Education, Degrees and Committees

St. Joseph’s College, Mountain View, 1941-1947

St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, 1947-1953, B.A. M. Div.

Graduate Studies in History, University of California, Berkeley

National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB)

1981-1984: Chair, Liturgy Committee

1988-1991: Chair, Laity Committee

1992-present: Liaison, Federation of Asian Bishops Conference, Hong Kong

1992-1995: Co-chair, R.C. Presbyterian/Reformed Dialogue

1992-1995: Consultant, Ecumenical & Religious Committee

1992-1995: Member, Science & Human Values Committee

1995-1998: Chair, Migration & Refugee Services

1995-1999: Chair, CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.)

United States Catholic Conference (USCC)

1995-1999 Member, Administrative Board

1996-1999 Member, International Policy Committee


Executive Director 1971-1977

President 1988-1997


Delegate: Synod of the Americas in Rome - 1997

Delegate: Asian Synod in Rome -1998

Delegate: IV Congress on Pastoral Care of Migrants – 1998


Preceded by Bishop Floyd L. Begin

Succeeded by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Archishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ