Bishop Edward Burns likes the climate in North Texas.
“I never could have imagined a warmer welcome,” he said.
After serving in Alaska, the 59 year-old Burns also likes the temperature.
“I definitely love the weather,” he said.
That’s not the only big change. As bishop in Juneau, Burns oversaw a diocese of approximately 12,500 Catholics. In Dallas, the number is 1.3 million.
“It’s amazing the difference in size,” Burns said.
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In his short time in Dallas, Burns has already made his mission clear.
“There is no mistake about it. We are called to serve the poor, the homeless, the stranger as we would serve Christ himself,” he said.
Burns has taken a strong stand in support of immigrants.
“I can’t speak to how it is people came to this country. But the fact that they’re in our community means that we approach them as either our brother or our sister,” Burn said.
He knows that many of them are Spanish-speakers, so he is taking lessons to become fluent.
“It’s a full-court press,” he said.
The new bishop is also committed to tackling a pressing issue for the Church – a lack of priests.
“My goal is that the Church continues to grow in pace with the larger community so that we are able to serve them. So do we need priests? Yes, we do,” he said.
Perhaps an even bigger challenge for the Pittsburgh native is swearing allegiance to the Dallas Cowboys after a lifetime of rooting for the Steelers.
“I told the people at my announcement,” Burns said while laughing, “I said in order for the bishop to be in solidarity with his people, yes, I am a Dallas Cowboys fan!”
But on Easter Sunday, Burns turns from humor to hope and a centuries-old message for the modern day world.
“Sin, evil, suffering and death does not have the last word. Jesus Christ, our Lord, has risen. This is such a powerful message. This is such a powerful day,” he said.