Father John Cunningham, a Spiritan priest who served for 50 years in the Archdiocese of Edmonton, died on May 23 in Scarborough, Ontario. He was 94.

He was predeceased by his parents, Bartholomew and Ellen (Nellie), and siblings, Liam, Bridget, Brendan and Flannan. He will be missed by nieces and nephews in Ireland, Flannan, Francis, Anne, Laura and Peter, and cousins in Canada, Pat Sexton, Mary Flanagan and Mary Sneep.

John Cunningham was born July 8, 1924 in Quilty, County Clare, Ireland. He made his first profession as a Spiritan on September 15, 1943 and was ordained to the priesthood on July 15, 1951. During more than 67 years as a priest, he served in a variety of pastoral assignments in Nigeria, Ireland and Canada.

In 1966 Father Cunningham arrived in Edmonton, where he became the founding pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in the city’s west end. He later served as pastor of St. Peter Parish in Villeneuve and the missions of Calahoo and Riviere Qui Barre; St. Andrew Parish in Edmonton and finally at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Edmonton until it closed in 2001.

He also served a number of terms on the Spiritan Provincial Council and was a very popular coordinator of the Spiritan group living in Alberta. Due to health issues, Father Cunningham retired to Toronto in the fall of 2001, residing first at Shanahan House, then La Salle Manor and finally the Houses of Providence in Scarborough.  

Father Cunningham was known for his welcoming smile, his fondness of reading, simplicity of life, his gentle kindness, and his love of people and pastoral ministry. During his time here, he also developed a great devotion to Edmonton’s hockey and football teams! He will be greatly missed by his confreres in the Spiritan Province of TransCanada, family and friends.

Funeral Details

Monday, June 3, at 7-9 p.m. (with prayer service at 8 p.m.)
Connor Funeral Home, 1939 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough, ON, M1R 2Y8

Mass of the Resurrection
Tuesday, June 4, at 11 a.m.
St. Joseph’s Parish, 200 Morrish Road, Scarborough, ON, M1C 1E8
The Mass will be followed by a light reception in the church hall.
Burial will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Cemetery, 8361 Yonge St., Thornhill, ON