Burns' installation as Big D's eighth bishop is scheduled for Tuesday, February 9th, in the Catedral Santuario de Guadalupe.
For the figure who's invariably the happiest, most invariably-beaming member of the Stateside bench (with perpetually off-the-chart levels of enthusiasm, to boot), the move brings a daunting shift of scale that is hard to recall in any instance: going from a 10,000-member Alaska fold to one of the US church's ten largest outposts. But given Burns' premium on an intimate, hyper-relational style of ministry in Juneau – where, every Monday morning, the bishop and his 12-man presbyterate log into Skype to share Morning Prayer and a group chat – the message here is Rome's hope for that kind of engagement to be translated on the massive stage of what's now the nation's fourth-largest metropolitan area, whose local church is now almost seven times its 1990 size and now requires the institutional build-out to manage the growth.
A son of Pittsburgh – where he served as vocation director and clergy-personnel chief under now-Cardinal Donald Wuerl – the Dallas pick first carved a wider profile at the USCCB, overseeing the national church's recruitment efforts as priest-director of the conference's vocations secretariat. Given his new charge's years-long push to increase its number of seminarians – not to mention Dallas being home to Texas' growing college seminary, Holy Trinity in Irving – the priority is highlighted by the choice, as is Burns' more general strong suit of ministry to young people given the presence of the University of Dallas, which is affiliated with the diocese.