Amadeus Burke, OFM
1907 – 2004
Fr. Amadeus Burke, OFM, was born on Dec. 7, 1907, in Brighton, Mass. On Dec. 22, he was baptized Daniel at St. Columbkille Church and entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., as a teenager. After five years of studies at the Seraphic Seminary, he was received into the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 16, 1927, and given the religious name Amadeus, lover of God.
Fr. Amadeus professed first vows Aug. 18, 1928. He studied philosophy at St. Stephen Friary in Croghan, N.Y., and at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J. He then proceeded to Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., and there pursued his theological studies for priesthood. Fr. Amadeus professed solemn vows Aug. 18, 1931, at St. Anthony Friary. On June 10, 1935, he was ordained a priest at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
His first assignment was to Buffalo, N.Y., where he served for four years as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Church. In 1939, he was appointed pastor of St. Stephen Church in Croghan. Fr. Amadeus was a young and enthusiastic pastor, who was respected and loved by his parishioners.
After 12 years of pastoral ministry in Croghan, Fr. Amadeus was sent to St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass., as the vicar and associate. From 1951 to 1980, he served in Brookline, and then was assigned to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he preached and celebrated the Eucharist and was a very popular confessor. Fr. Amadeus was an excellent homilist and seldom spoke beyond two to three minutes; however, in those few minutes he always provided practical food for thought and spiritual insights from his own reflection on the Word of God.
Fr. Amadeus retired to St. Anthony Residence across the street from the Shrine in 1985. He lived there for 13 years, until being transferred to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., in 1998. On Aug. 18, 2003, he celebrated his Diamond Jubilee, or 75 years as a friar.
Always gentle in manner and in speech, Fr. Amadeus cultivated this fruit of the Holy Spirit throughout his long life. He was a friar who “sought integrity, piety, faith, love and a gentle spirit” (1 Tim 6:11).
Fr. Amadeus died June 1, 2004 at Holy Name Friary. He was 96 years old, a professed friar for 75 years and a priest nearly 69 years.