|Birth: ||Mar. 10, 1911|
San Francisco County
|Death: ||Jun. 3, 1958|
Los Angeles County
Father Joseph Burns, CSP, was born on May 10, 1911, in San Francisco. The son of a postman, he attended local public schools before entering St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park in 1930. In the summer of 1932 he spoke with Fr. Thomas Burke, CSP, at Old St. Mary's in San Francisco. Soon afterwards, he wrote Superior General John Harney, CSP, saying that he wished to join the Paulists to "enjoy the graces of community life, the work of a [missionary], and the life of a preacher and confessor." The following year he began studies at St. Paul's College in Washington, D.C. He made his first profession on June 17, 1934 and was ordained a Catholic priest in San Francisco on May 22, 1937.
Father Burns began his priestly career as a parish assistant in his hometown of San Francisco at Old St. Mary's. In April of 1941 he enlisted as a navy chaplain and served in combat with naval and marine detachments in the South Pacific theater. When he fell ill in mid-1943 he was forced to resign the military and return home to ministry with the Paulists. He was assigned short parish and mission stints in Chicago, Utah, and Winchester in the mid-1940's before being named procurator at Old St. Mary's in San Francisco in 1948.
In 1955 Father Burns was named pastor of St. Paul the Apostle parish in Los Angeles and he soon launched plans to build a new church. However, heart problems sent him to the hospital in November 1956. He made a temporary recovery, but a second series of heart attacks in mid-1958, precipitated by overwork and exhaustion, led to his final hospitalization and death on June 3, 1958. He died shortly after the new church had been opened but just prior to its dedication. He had just celebrated his 47th birthday and the 21st anniversary of his ordination.
A military chaplain and parish builder, Father Burns was remembered in the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle bulletin just after his death: "Only God can sum up the results of his labors as a priest when he was the instrument and channel of God's graces for people … the converts he received, the sinners he brought back to God in the confessional, the multitudes he fed with the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, the boys and girls he brought to Christ's service in the religious life, and the dying he anointed on sickbeds and battlefields. He was a good priest and a great Paulist."
Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
San Mateo County
Created by: Paulist Archives
Record added: Aug 23, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95847069
Rest In Peace, Father Joseph!|
Added: Nov. 1, 2012