Divine Word Father Vincent Burke, who formerly served in Blessed Sacrament-Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd Parish, Trenton, and had also spent nearly 50 years ministering in Ghana and on the West Coast of Africa, died Sept. 21 in the Society of the Divine Word Chicago Province in Techny, Ill. He was 83.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Sept. 27 in the Divine Word Residence in Techny and he was buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Techny.
Born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1933, Father Burke studied with the Society of the Divine Word at Divine Word Seminary at Miramar in Massachusetts in 1947. He professed vows in 1953 in Conesus, N.Y., and was ordained a priest in 1961 in Techny.
Following his ordination, he earned a master’s degree in English literature from The Catholic University of America, Washington, then was sent to Ghana where he served a number of assignments including: teaching English in St. Peter’s Secondary School, Nkwatia-Kwahu, a town with no electricity or running water; serving as chaplain and professor of English literature in St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Osu, Ghana; as national spiritual director of the Ghana Sacred Heart Enthronement Centre and spiritual director of the Accra Diocesan Sacred Heart Centre.
In 1981, he was promoted to headmaster and rector of Pope John XXIII Secondary School and Minor Seminary, Koforidua.
After more than 20 years in the seminary, he returned to the United States and became parochial vicar in Blessed Sacrament-Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd Parish, Trenton.
In 2006, Father Burke returned to Ghana to serve for as lecturer at the newly founded Catholic University College of Ghana in Sunyani and then an assignment as an English as a Second Language instructor to Divine Word Missionaries. He went on to become director of the Divine Word Language and Cultural Centre in Ghana.
In 2011, he retired from teaching and returned to live at the Divine Word Residence in Bordentown during which he visited parishes and schools to talk about missionary work. He moved to Techny in 2016 and in recognition of his service to the Ghanaian people, President John Dramani Mahama presented Father Burke with the Office of the Order of Volta Award.
Father Burke is survived by two brothers.
Memorial donations may be sent to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, 1901 Waukegan Road, P.O. Box 6000, Techny, Ill. 60082-6000.