About The Bishop
Most Reverend Edward J. Burns
Bishop of Juneau
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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 named Director of the Department of Clergy and Ministerial Formation. 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 of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
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.
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 19, 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.
During his time as Bishop of the Diocese of Juneau, Bishop Burns conducted multi-day pastoral visits to each parish/mission around the diocese during the Year of Faith 2012 in preparation for a Diocesan Synod which took place in November 2013. Bishop Burns wrote three pastoral letters and presented a 2015-2020 diocesan pastoral plan during his time in Juneau.
Bishop Burns is currently the Chair of the USCCB’s Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, a member of the Committee on Home Missions and a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services.
Photos of Bishop Edward J. Burns for media use: