More than a million North Texas Catholics have a new shepherd as Bishop Edward Burns has arrived in Dallas from Alaska.
Pope Francis selected Burns, 59, in December to lead the Diocese of Dallas. Burns admits he's not used to doing a lot of driving coming from Juneau, Alaska - where he became quite the outdoorsman.
“I am absolutely proud of myself I got to work today without using my iPhone,” Burns said. “I did it all by myself.”
Among his priorities in Dallas is to grow the number of talented qualified priests.
“With 1.3 million Catholics in this area we are in need of priests - good, solid, healthy, wholesome, priests,” Burns said.
His predecessor in Dallas, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, was outspoken during his tenure -- most notably supporting a flood of immigrant children caught in the court system in 2015.
Burns said he plans to be vocal in asserting the views of the Catholic Church and he's already spoken to city leaders like Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings about the immigration protests that played out at DFW Airport recently.
“I think it's important, collectively, we partner together to keep families together and to assure a human dignity,” Burns said. “I think it's important that we not be so fearful, but rather approach people as our brothers and sisters.”
How he will lead in the broader sense remains to be seen -- with one goal always in mind.
“My leadership style will unfold. So for me to say what you are going to see is this, this, this, this… trust me, I will be out there. I will be vocal,” Burns said. “The one thing that I recognize is that I'm a shepherd within the Catholic Church.
A special prayer service for burns was held at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas on Wednesday. His family, including his mom, was in town for the ceremonies.
“My mom, God bless her, she can still keep a Bishop humble.”