Cardinal Arns, 95, Remembered For His Fight For Human RightsPrevious Article
Pope, Cardinal Advisers Discuss Role of Vatican Offices, LaityNext Article
Breaking News

Pope Francis Names Bishop Burns To head Dallas Diocese

Line Spacing+- AFont Size+- Print This Article
Pope Francis Names Bishop Burns To head Dallas Diocese


Pope Francis has named Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska, to be bishop of Dallas,
succeeding now-Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, who headed the Dallas Diocese until
he was named in August to be the first prefect of the new Vatican office for
laity, family and life.

Bishop Burns, 59, has headed the
Diocese of Juneau since 2009. A priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, he is a
former rector of St. Paul’s Seminary in Pittsburgh and former director of the
U.S. bishops’ national offices dealing with clergy, vocations and priestly

The appointment was announced
Dec. 13 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the
United States.

Bishop Burns will be installed as
the eighth bishop of Dallas Feb. 9.

In a statement, he said he is “humbled
and grateful” for his new appointment and “at the same time, this announcement
fills my heart with gratitude for the privilege and honor of serving the
priests, deacons, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Juneau.”

“I am profoundly grateful for my
experience in southeast Alaska and I pray for God’s grace as I take on my new
duties as chief shepherd of the Diocese of Dallas,” Bishop Burns said.

Bishop Burns is the
current chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on the
Protection of Children and Young People. He also is a member of the bishops’
Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions and has been a member of their
Administrative Committee.

He was named bishop of Juneau by
Pope Benedict XVI Jan. 19, 2009, and ordained a bishop March 3, 2009, at St.
Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh, his home diocese. His installation was April 2,

The 37,600-square-mile Diocese of
Juneau is considered one of the U.S. church’s home mission dioceses. Out of a
total population of 75,000, it has 10,000 Catholics.

In a recent interview with
Catholic News Service in Juneau, Bishop Burns said that when he became diocesan
bishop there, he learned that 10 percent of its population was Catholic and 60
percent didn’t identify with any religion.

“I thought to myself, ‘What
a wonderful challenge this is going to be,'” he said. “It’s an
opportunity for us to engage in the new evangelization, because it’s not like
these people have never heard of Jesus Christ, or the Gospel message, or that
they’ve never been in contact with the church. It’s just that they choose to be
secularists. They have chosen to step aside from their religion or faith.

“For us, it’s a wonderful
challenge,” Bishop Burns said, “to awaken in them a relationship with
Jesus Christ.”

The son of Geraldine Little
Burns and the late Donald P. Burns, Edward J. Burns was born Oct. 7, 1957, and
raised in the Pittsburgh area. After high school, he attended St. Paul
Seminary/Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he earned a bachelor of arts
degree in philosophy and sociology. He then attended Mount St. Mary’s Seminary
in Emmitsburg, Maryland, graduating in 1983 with a master of divinity degree
and a master’s degree in theology. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of
Pittsburgh June 25, 1983.

After ordination, then-Father
Burns served in parish ministry, diocesan administration, and in vocation and
seminary work. He was the director of clergy personnel for the Pittsburgh
Diocese when then-Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh released him to serve at
the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.

On the national level he was
executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly
Formation from 1999 to 2008. Pope Benedict named him a monsignor in 2006.
Msgr. Burns returned to Pittsburgh in August 2008 as rector of St. Paul’s
Seminary and director of the diocesan preordination formation department and
office for vocations.

Now-Cardinal Wuerl, who is
archbishop of Washington, issued a statement on Bishop Burns’ new appointment,
calling it “a joy to hear” that Pope Francis “has entrusted” the Dallas Diocese
to him.

In the bishop’s years of ministry
as a diocesan priest, at the USCCB and in Alaska, “I have seen the great
pastoral care and spiritual leadership with which Bishop Burns has faithfully
served the church,” Cardinal Wuerl said Dec. 13. “The Diocese of Dallas is
blessed to be gaining an extraordinary shepherd, and he brings with him our
prayers for his pastoral ministry.”


Vatican Live Video Feed

Pope Francis on Twitter