Pittsburgh rector named bishop of Alaskan diocese

Bishop-elect Edward Burns / Pope Benedict XVI
Bishop-elect Edward Burns / Pope Benedict XVI


This morning the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Edward J. Burns to be the Bishop of Juneau, Alaska.  Msgr. Burns is currently rector of the St. Paul diocesan seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Bishop of Pittsburgh David A. Zubik described the appointment as “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.”


The prelate continued by asking for God’s blessing upon the bishop-elect. “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.”


Msgr. Burns, currently the rector of the St. Paul diocesan seminary, was born in Pittsburgh in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983.  According to the Diocese of Pittsburgh, after his priestly ordination, Msgr. Burns served as an assistant pastor until 1991 when he was appointed as the Director of the Vocation Office and Vice Rector of Saint Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh. 


In 1996, he was named Rector of the seminary and in 1999 was appointed Executive Director, Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington D.C.


Upon learning of his appointment, the bishop-elect released a statement saying that while he will miss the Diocese of Pittsburgh, he is looking forward to his new assignment.


In a letter of acceptance to Pope Benedict, Msgr. Burns wrote, “It is an honor for me to be called to provide apostolic ministry to the brothers and sisters who live in such a beautiful part of God’s creation. …May the Blessed Mother who said ‘yes’ to the message of the Archangel Gabriel intercede for me as I offer my fiat to the call of the Church and the will of God.”


Bishop-elect Burns then addressed the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful of Juneau saying, “I am so glad to be with you and I am humbled by the call to be your Bishop – to lead and to serve you.”


The bishop-elect will be installed as Bishop of Juneau on April 2, 2009.  He will serve 7,350 Catholics and 10 priests in the remote Diocese of Juneau.

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