Rev. John J. Burkhart, O.S.A. (1930 - 2008)
Rev. John J. Burkhart, O.S.A., entered eternal life on December 8, 2008.
John Joseph Burkhart was born on January 6, 1930, in Reading, Pennsylvania, to the late George L. and Helen E. Burkhart. He was baptized on January 19, 1930, and confirmed on October 20, 1937, at Sacred Heart Church, West Reading, Pennsylvania.
After graduating from Sacred Heart Elementary School, Reading, in 1943, John began his secondary studies at Reading Catholic High School, Reading. At the conclusion of his first year of high school, he was accepted into the minor seminary program at St. Monica Seminary, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He did his senior year at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, which awarded him a high school diploma in 1947.
John was received into the Augustinian Novitiate on September 9, 1947. He professed simple (temporary) vows on September 10, 1948, and solemn (permanent) vows on September 10, 1951. He was ordained a priest on February 4, 1956.
Following profession of vows, he studied at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, earning a B. A. in Philosophy in 1952. He did theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., from 1952 to 1956. He received an M. A. in Religion from Villanova University in 1956 and an M.S.W. from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, in 1987.
Father Burkhart taught at St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, from 1956 to 1963. In addition, he served at various times as Guidance Counselor and Athletic Director at St. Rita.
In 1963, he was assigned to the Augustinian Missions in Chulucanas, Peru. There, he served as Vicar General of the Prelature of Chulucanas and did pastoral ministry in Chulucanas and in Santo Domingo.
Upon his return to the United States in 1971, Father Burkhart became Mission Procurator, living at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery, Olympia Fields, Illinois. In this role, he secured financial help to support the ministries of the Church in northern Peru.
In 1978, he became Associate Pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Chicago. He was named Pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, in 1979 and continued in this position until 1985. In that year, while continuing to reside at St. Clare of Montefalco, he began graduate studies in Social Work at Wayne State University.
Upon earning his M.S.W. in 1987, Father Burkhart began a career as a counselor and clinical social worker at several metropolitan Detroit locations. In 2004, because of declining physical capacities, he moved to Mercy Bellbrook (now called Sanctuary at Bellbrook), Rochester Hills, Michigan, where he resided at the time of his death.
Father Burkhart is remembered as a compassionate counselor, confessor and pastor, who accompanied and guided many people as they journeyed through difficult times.
He is buried in Gethsemane Cemetery, Laureldale, Pennsylvania.