Bishop Kurt R. Burnette of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, N.J., prays as bishops from Eastern Catholic churches in the United States concelebrate a Divine Liturgy at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome Feb. 17, 2020. Pope Francis named him apostolic administrator Oct. 20 of the Slovakian Eparchy of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Toronto, which is currently vacant. CNS photo/Paul Haring

U.S. bishop named apostolic administrator of Byzantine eparchy in Canada

  • October 20, 2020

WASHINGTON -- Pope Francis has named Bishop Kurt R. Burnette of the Byzantine Ruthenian Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersey, to be the apostolic administrator of the Slovakian Eparchy of St. Cyril and Methodius in Toronto.

Bishop Burnette, 64, remains the head of the Passaic-based eparchy, which covers Byzantine and Ruthenian Catholics living in New England and on the East Coast of the U.S. He has been the bishop in Passaic for seven years.

His appointment as apostolic administrator was announced in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Vatican nuncio to the United States.

The Vatican announced the same day Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Marian Andrej Pacák, 47, a member of the Redemptorist congregation, who since Sept. 15, 2018, had headed the eparchy for Canada's 3,500 Slovak Byzantine Catholics.

Pope Francis named then-Father Pacák as eparch July 5, 2018. His episcopal ordination was Sept. 2, 2018, in Slovakia, followed by his enthronement as eparchial bishop in Toronto on Sept. 15 of that year.

Bishop Burnette has headed the Passaic-based eparchy since 2013. When Pope Francis appointed him eparch, then-Father Burnette had been rector for about a year of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Pittsburgh.

Born in England Nov. 7, 1955, he was ordained a priest at St. Mary Cathedral in Sherman Oaks, California, for the Holy Mary of Protection Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix April 26, 1989.

He was pastor at several parishes, including St Nicholas of Myra in Fontana, California; St. Irene the Virgin and Great Martyr in Portland, Oregon; St. Gabriel the Archangel in Las Vegas; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He also served as chaplain for the Fontana Police Department and regularly visited jails and prisons in California, Oregon, Washington and New Mexico. He served his eparchy as "economos," or financial administrator, and consultor from 1991 to 1994.

Bishop Burnette has a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Utah and taught mathematics, engineering, physics, and computer science from 1978 to 2004 at that university and also at the University of California at Irvine, California State University at San Bernardino and the University of Portland, where he led one of the first classes in the world on quantum computing.

Born at Sculthorpe Royal Air Force Base in Norfolk, England, Bishop Burnette grew up in Texas -- in Corpus Christi and Houston.

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