Father Kurt Burnette, rector of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Pittsburgh, was appointed Bishop of the Ruthenian Eparchy of Passaic, which serves nearly 15,000 Ruthenian Catholics, on Oct. 29.
Fr. Burnette will be enthroned at the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel in Passaic, NJ, on Dec. 4.
A native of Fakenham, England, Fr. Burnette, who is 57, grew up in Texas. He attended Rice University, and then received a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Utah. He began a career as a professor in 1978.
According to the Passaic eparchy, he was ordained a priest of the Eparchy of the Holy Protection of Mary of Phoenix on April 26, 1989. He continued to work as a professor at universities until 2004.
Fr. Burnette has served as pastor of parishes in California, Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico, and has served as a prison chaplain as well. From 1991 to 1994, he was economos and consultor of the Holy Protection of Mary of Phoenix eparchy.
He earned a licentiate in canon law at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and has served as a tribunal for his own eparchy, as well as the dioceses of Santa Fe, Gallup, and Phoenix.
Fr. Burnette was appointed rector of Pittsburgh's Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Oct., 2012.
The Passaic eparchy has 77 priests at 84 parishes, and serves Ruthenian Catholics along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. It will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its establishment Nov. 10 with Divine Liturgy at its cathedral.
The Ruthenian Catholic Church is and Eastern Catholic Church and so is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. Ruthenian Catholics use the Byzantine rite, and are led by the Ruthenian Archbishop of Pittsburgh.
The Passaic eparchy had been vacant since Jan., 2012, when its bishop, William Skurla, was appointed head of the Ruthenian Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.
The other appointments made by Pope Francis today are: Bishop Leonard Blair was appointed Archbishop of Hartford; Bishop Gabriel Abegunrin was appointed Archbishop of Ibadan, in Nigeria; and Fr. Aureo Bonilla Bonilla was appointed vicar apostolic of Galápagos, in Ecuador.