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January 19, 2009

Monsignor Burns (friend of St. Vincent Archabbey) named Bishop

The Benedictine Monks of St. Vincent Archabbey rejoice in the appointment of Monsignor Edward Burns as the next bishop of Juneau, Alaska. Check out this great vocation testimony that Bishop Elect Burns gave a few years back when he was in charge of vocations for the USCCB: Click here


Bishop Elect Burns (front row left) with Bishop David Zubik (Center), Fr. Joseph Mele, Professor of Homiletics at St. Vincent Seminary (front row right), and the seminarians and faculty of St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – Pope Benedict XVI has named Monsignor Edward J. Burns, Rector of Saint Paul Seminary of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh diocesan Vocations Director, to serve as Bishop of Juneau, Alaska. The announcement was made today by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, in Washington, D.C.

Monsignor Burns will be ordained by Bishop David A. Zubik at Saint Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh, on Tuesday, March 3, at 2 p.m. He will be installed as bishop in Juneau on Thursday, April 2.

Bishop Zubik said that Monsignor Burns’ appointment “is a cause of celebration for the Church because it recognizes in him the same qualities of pastoral care and spiritual leadership in priestly vocations that we have known here for many years, and has been recognized nationally in his nearly decade-long service at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.

“I join his many friends among the clergy, religious and faithful of our Diocese in wishing him well and asking God's blessing on him. As he leaves Pittsburgh, he takes with him the admiration and affection of all of us, together with our prayers for him and his pastoral ministry in Juneau,” Bishop Zubik said.

Edward J. Burns was born on October 7, 1957 in Pittsburgh. His mother and father, Donald and Geraldine Burns, are members of Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Beaver. His brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Rose Burns, live in Westmoreland County and run a printing business in Monroeville. His niece, Nicole is in medical school and his nephew Steven works in the family printing business.

Msgr. Burns attended Holy Rosary Elementary School in Homewood, Saint Agatha, Ellwood City, and Lincoln High School, Ellwood City, before entering St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh. He received an undergraduate degree at Duquesne University in 1979 and continued his studies at Mount Saint Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he earned a master’s degree in theology in 1983.

After his ordination as a priest by Bishop Vincent M. Leonard on June 25, 1983, he served as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Burgettstown from 1983-1988. He was then named Parochial Vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish, Washington, PA from 1988-1991.

In 1991 he was appointed Director of the Vocation Office at Saint Paul Seminary, a position he held until 1996. At the same time he was named Vice Rector of the seminary. During this six year period he also was appointed as Director of Spiritual Formation at the Seminary. In 1996, he was named Rector of the Seminary and in addition held the titles of Director of Clergy and Ministerial Formation, then Director, Office for the Diaconate and Director Pre-Ordination Formation.

In 1997 he was appointed Director of Clergy Personnel, moving to the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Pittsburgh.

On July 1, 1999, he was appointed Executive Director, Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington DC.

He had been named a monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, with Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl bestowing the papal honor on August 9th of that year.

Msgr. Burns returned to Pittsburgh August 18, 2008, to serve as Rector, Saint Paul Seminary, Director, Department for Pre-Ordination Formation and Director of the Vocation Office for the Diocese. As director for pre-ordination formation, Msgr, Burns worked closely with Bishop Zubik in ensuring that the men who are called to holy orders are well prepared to accept the challenges, responsibilities and duties of priesthood.

“I’m blessed to be a part of a great group of priests who serve this local church,” Msgr. Burns told the Pittsburgh Catholic after his return to the Diocese of Pittsburgh last August.

“Coming back has increased my appreciation for my brother priests, and it’s fantastic reconnecting with them. It’s wonderful coming back into contact with the good people who make up the Diocese of Pittsburgh, whether they are colleagues in the diocese, former parishioners or collaborators on past projects.”

While in his position at the USCCB, he served as co-chairman of the Third Continental Congress on Vocations to Ordained Ministry and Consecrated Life in North America called by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

Msgr. Burns was responsible on a national level for assisting in priestly vocations and formation, including seminaries. He served as staff to the apostolic visitation of seminaries throughout the United States requested by Pope John Paul II in 2005 and 2006. He was a consultant to the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and served as interim director for the Bishops’ Committee on the Diaconate and the Committee for Priestly Life and Ministry.

A nationally recognized expert on vocations and priestly formation, Msgr. Burns has said that we “live in a culture that does not promote the benefit of serving others and elements within society scoff at entering into a lifelong commitment. … It is time to restore the great gifts that come from committed service to one another.”

Msgr. Burns sees the parish as having a critical role in vocations.

“The parish is to create the vocation culture by actively praying for vocations, establishing a vocations committee, highlighting good examples of priesthood and religious life and offering the youth opportunities for discussion and prayer, in particular, Eucharistic Adoration and the rosary,” Msgr. Burns told the Serra Club of Saint Louis in a 2006 talk.

Msgr. Burns has served the Diocese of Pittsburgh on numerous boards and committees, including the Priest Personnel Board and Priests Benefit Plan Board, the Administrative Board of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and as chaplain to the Catholic Alumni Club of Pittsburgh.

After his ordination and installation in March, Msgr. Burns joins Bishop Zubik, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, and Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence as Pittsburgh priests who serve as heads of dioceses throughout the United States. Cardinal Adam Maida recently retired as archbishop of Detroit.

Auxiliary Bishop Paul J. Bradley, General Secretary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, is a Pittsburgh priest as are retired auxiliary bishops John B. McDowell and William J. Winter.

“I know from my own experience when I was appointed bishop of Green Bay that it can be bittersweet leaving Pittsburgh,” Bishop Zubik said. “But our vocation is to serve wherever we are needed by the Church. Msgr. Burns will bring his deep faith, his great skills, and his love of Christ and His Church to the people of Juneau. We will all miss him. Yet, we are excited in knowing that the Diocese of Juneau is blessed to have such an extraordinary bishop,” Bishop Zubik said.

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