Obituary: Reverend Edmund M. Burke

| 07/8/2024

By: The Good Newsroom

Father Burke gave many a place of acceptance without saying a word. He taught us about God’s love and forgiveness, of ourselves and others

Reverend Edmund M. Burke entered eternal life on July 3, 2024.
Reverend Edmund M. Burke entered eternal life on July 3, 2024.

Reverend Edmund M. Burke entered eternal life peacefully on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, at Woodland Pond in New Paltz, surrounded by his loving nurses.

He was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, on November 28, 1942, to the late Monica (MacDonald) and Edmund Burke. Father Burke is survived by numerous cousins in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As a child, he spent time with family between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He often summered in Lost Creek, Pennsylvania, with his grandmother, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. The family lived their strong Irish heritage in an Irish community. His maternal grandfather, Michael MacDonald (Brigid), was born in County Mayo, Ireland.

Father Burke lived his heritage throughout his life. After high school, Ed Burke joined the U.S. Army and served in Korea. Soon after leaving the Army, he joined Don Bosco Seminary in Newton, New Jersey. When family would visit, they would bring him gifts, which he would give to the less fortunate as was his nature.

Father Burke was ordained in Columbus, Ohio, in 1977 with his family present. He celebrated his first Mass at Holy Cross in Springfield, Pennsylvania. Sometimes we are lucky enough to meet someone who makes a huge difference in our lives. For many of us, that person was Father Burke. A dedicated priest who exemplified what being a Catholic is all about. A priest whose quiet, humble presence was there when we were baptized, confirmed, and married. He was there when we buried loved ones. He was known for saying a quick Mass. For those of us who knew him, we knew he never rushed; he would feed his flock with more in five minutes than others could do in 40. His homily sustained us, and we remembered it. He served the less fortunate, did what was right in the face of adversity, and allowed people to be who they were without passing judgment, even if it was a distracted altar server or a child who kicked his brother out of the pew during Mass.

Father Burke supported our Catholic schools and families that struggled financially to give their children a Catholic education. He brought a smile to our children’s faces. He was a quiet presence that made them comfortable and secure. At St. Mary’s in Kingston and St. Peter’s in Rosendale, Father Burke opened the gates and took down walls that kept people out. Parishes flourished because of his love for God and faith. He gave many a place of acceptance without saying a word. He did not talk the talk; he lived it. He taught us about God’s love and forgiveness, of ourselves and others. 

Father Burke’s strength and fortitude were there when the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) erected a monument to honor those who perished in the An Gorta Mór. His support was invaluable. When Kevin Cahill secured a grant for St. Peter’s school, a building in disrepair, he supported the vision of many to see a place for children, Catholic Charities, and CYO to have a home. He was our beacon of light that guided and gave hope when the building burned. He knew God had a plan to refine it through the fire. He did all he could to ensure those in our community did the work. As chaplain of the AOH, he has said our St. Patrick’s Day Mass for more years than we can remember. He taught us what St. Patrick’s Day is truly about. He taught us to honor our Irish heritage and its rich culture and traditions.

The last two years of his life, Father Burke resided at Woodland Pond, where he was very content. He continued his ministry there, administering the Anointing of the Sick, Last Rites, offering Mass monthly, and the Rosary as well. Many thanks to those at Woodland Pond who cared for him and all who visited.

RECEPTION OF THE BODY AND WAKE • LYING IN REPOSE 

Monday, July 8, 2024 • 4-7 p.m.
Church of St. Peter
1017 Keator Avenue
Rosendale, NY 12472
845-658-3117

Entrusted to the care of the George Moylan Funeral Home, Rosendale

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL
Tuesday, July 9, 2024 • 10 a.m.
Church of St. Peter
1017 Keator Avenue
Rosendale, NY 12472
845-658-3117

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, principal celebrant
Reverend John T. Kearney, homilist

INTERMENT
St. Peter Cemetery, Rosendale

+Requiescat in Pace+

Archbishop Stepinac High School senior Johnuel "Boogie" Fland shoots a free throw during Stepinac's 73-52 victory over St. Francis Preparatory School of Brooklyn, March 6, 2024. Fland scored 21 points in the CHSAA "AA" city intersectional semi-final game.
Archbishop Stepinac High School senior Johnuel "Boogie" Fland shoots a free throw during Stepinac's 73-52 victory over St. Francis Preparatory School of Brooklyn, March 6, 2024. Fland scored 21 points in the CHSAA "AA" city intersectional semi-final game. Photo by Steven Schwankert/The Good Newsroom
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