Fr. Stephen Burr appointed Vice Rector and Dean of Seminarian Formation

It is always a happy day of celebration when a member of the Sacred Heart's family is elevated to the episcopate. That celebration happened on November 23, when Pope Francis named Vice Rector Fr. Gerard Battersby an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

But a happy problem arises, too, when the person elevated is a member of the Sacred Heart administration and has to be replaced.

That happy problem is now solved. On December 10, Archbishop Allen Vigneron appointed Fr. Stephen Burr as the new vice rector and dean of seminarian formation of the seminary.

Father Burr has been a member of Sacred Heart’s leadership team since 2005, when then-vice rector, now-Archbishop Michael Byrnes invited Father to be a part of the seminarian formation team. Father Burr had been serving as a parochial vicar and a high school chaplain since his priestly ordination in 2002. The seminary elevated Father Burr to full-time faculty status in 2008, and shortly afterward, he became director of undergraduate seminarians with the added responsibility of directing the pastoral formation of the undergraduate seminarians.

The new duties of Sacred Heart alumnus Father Burr (College 1999, Theologate 2002) are two-fold. As vice rector, he oversees the priests who are involved in the formation of seminarians. As dean of formation, he directs of the human, pastoral, spiritual, and intellectual formation of Sacred Heart’s seminarians, who this year come from eleven dioceses and two religious communities.

“I am humbled by Archbishop Vigneron’s invitation to serve the mission of the seminary and the Church in a greater role as the vice rector,” Father Burr says. “In this new role, I hope to continue the holy leadership of my predecessors who have faithfully directed the seminarians here. They have been an inspiration to me as I have been able to serve alongside them and in their ‘yes’ to apostolic ministry.

“At the same time, what a joy it is to be associated with such an esteemed group of dedicated ministers as the priests, faculty, and staff of Sacred Heart.”

Msgr. Todd Lajiness, Sacred Heart’s rector, is happy to have Father Burr as his second-in-command.

“As we move forward in light of the archdiocesan Synod, and also prepare for our own centennial in 2019,” says Monsignor, “Father Burr will provide valuable insights and leadership. He has been making significant contributions to the formation program for many years, and he is an exceptional model of priestly service for our men.”

Father Burr will assume his duties as vice rector when the new academic term begins on January 9. In the meantime, he will keep working on his doctoral treatise as the final step to earning a Doctorate in Ministry degree from Catholic University of America, while continuing his ministry as weekend assistant at St. John Vianney Parish in Shelby Township.

Says Father Burr, “I am indebted to our merciful God and the support of family and friends who hold me up in prayer. Please do not leave me off your prayer lists now!”