MOST REVEREND EDWARD J. BURNS
BISHOP OF JUNEAU
Bishop Burns was born on October 7, 1957, in Pittsburgh, PA. The son of Donald P. and Geraldine Little Burns, he received his secondary education at Lincoln High School in Ellwood City, PA. He obtained a B.A. degree (Philosophy and Sociology) from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA during his four years of priestly formation at St. Paul Seminary. He received a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Theology degree from Mt. St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh by the Most Reverend Vincent M. Leonard on June 25, 1983. He was then assigned as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Burgettstown, PA until 1988 when he was assigned as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish, Washington, PA.
Bishop Burns was appointed Vocation Director of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Vice-Rector of St. Paul Seminary and Dean of Studies of St. Paul Seminary in 1991. In 1993, Bishop Burns was appointed the Director of Spiritual Formation at the St. Paul Seminary. In July 1996, he became the Director of the Department of Pre-Ordination Formation and Rector of St. Paul Seminary, Pittsburgh. In this capacity he was responsible for all aspects of the formation of seminarians prior to priesthood ordination. Bishop Burns was also the chairman of the diocesan Priestly Formation Board which makes recommendations to the Diocesan Bishop regarding candidacy and ordination to the diaconate and priesthood. That same year, Bishop Burns was named Director of the Department of Clergy and Ministerial Formation. In this capacity, he was responsible for the diocesan newly ordained program, the pre-pastorate and new pastor programs, the pre-retirement program, priest sabbaticals, and all aspect of the continuing formation/education of priests. Also in 1996, Bishop Burns was appointed Director of the Office for the Diaconate, overseeing the formation of 36 candidates in preparation for the diaconate.
From October 1997 to July 1999, Bishop Burns served as the Director of the Department of Clergy Personnel and Executive Secretary to the Priest Personnel Board. In that capacity, Bishop Burns was a member of the Priestly Formation Board, the Priesthood Candidate Admissions Board, the Diaconate Formation Board, the Diaconate Admissions Board and the Priest Benefit Plan Board.
In 1999, Bishop Donald Wuerl released Bishop Burns from priestly service in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in order to accept the position of Executive Director of the Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC. In this capacity, Bishop Burns served as staff to the Bishops’ Committee on Vocations and the Bishops’ Committee on Priestly Formation.
Bishop Burns was the co-chair of the Third Continental Congress on Vocations to Ordained Ministry and Consecrated Life in North America called by His Holiness Pope John Paul II and took place in Montreal, Canada; April 18-21, 2002. His projects included: the rewriting of the Program of Priestly Formation; serving as staff to the Apostolic Seminary Visitations; and initiating the vocation programs for priesthood entitled, Priestly Life and Vocation Summit: Fishers of Men. Bishop Burns served as Interim Director of the Secretariat for Priestly Life & Ministry and served as a consultant for the Bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. Bishop Burns was named a Chaplain to His Holiness by Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2006. On January 1, 2008 Bishop Burns assumed the responsibilities as Executive Director of the Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life & Vocations in response to the re-organization of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Bishop Burns has worked with the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director (NCDVD), the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), National Religious Vocation Council (NRVC), National Coalition of Church Vocations (NCCV), the Mid-West Association of Theological Schools (MATS), the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and a former member of the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA), the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD) and the National Organization for the Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy (NOCERCC).
On August 1, 2008, Bishop Burns completed his time at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop David A. Zubik, Bishop of Pittsburgh, appointed Bishop Burns as Rector of St. Paul Seminary, Director of the Department for Pre-Ordination Formation and Director of the Department for Priestly Vocations for the Diocese of Pittsburgh effective August 18, 2008.
On January 12, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Burns to be the fifth Bishop of Juneau, Alaska. He was ordained as a Bishop at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh on March 3, 2009, and took possession of the Diocese of Juneau at Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church on April 2, 2009.