Father John Francis Bourke dies, was pastor in Berlin, Waterford

Father John Francis Bourke dies, was pastor in Berlin, Waterford

Father John Francis (Frank) Bourke died July 18 at the age of 79.

He was the longtime pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Berlin, serving as co-pastor there with two other priests, 1977-82, and as pastor 1982-2000. He also was pastor of Saint Anthony Parish in Waterford, from 2000 until his retirement in 2007.

His brother priest Msgr. Thomas Morgan, remembered him as a healer and skilled spiritual director who was loved by his parishioners.

“Father Frank Bourke loved being a priest,” said Msgr. Morgan. “He loved helping and healing people. He loved bringing mercy and hope to his parishioners.

“I believe that at the core of his ministry was his great capacity to be accepting of other human beings,” he continued. “He was totally accepting of you as you are with all your strengths and weaknesses. He could artfully feel his way into your joys and sorrows.”

That ability to understand and comfort people was key to Father Bourke’s priestly ministry, Msgr. Morgan said.

“In his accepting attitude you felt worthy of God’s infinite mercy. And that is a key grace in all of our lives. And helping our parishioners to have a heartfelt experience of God’s unconditional love is central to the life of all priests. He did it well.”

Father Bourke was ordained on June 5, 1960, in Kilkenny, Ireland, the same town in which he was born. He completed his seminary studies at Saint Kieran’s College there. Three months after his ordination he began serving as parochial vicar at Our Lay Queen of Peace Parish, Pitman. He also was parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 1961-63; Saint John Parish, Collingswood, 1963-65; Saint Michael, Gibbstown, 1965-66; Saint Pius X, Cherry Hill, 1966-71; and Immaculate Conception, Bridgeton, 1971-76.

Father Bourke’s funeral Mass is Friday July 22, 11:30 a.m., at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Saint Simon Stock Parish, Berlin. Viewing 9-11:15 a.m. Interment at Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill.

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