Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BURKE, John Edmund, clergyman, born in Brooklyn, New York, 22 January, 1852. He attended St. Francis Xavier's College in New York, and studied for the priesthood at Mount St. Mary's seminary, Emmetsburg, Md., and at the American College in Rome, where he was ordained a priest on 4 August, 1878. On his return to the United States he became pastor of the church of the Epiphany, New York. Becoming deeply interested in the spiritual condition of the colored Roman Catholics of that City, and realizing their great need of church accommodation, he, in 1878, voluntarily resigned his pastoral charge to devote himself to supplying this want of the colored Roman Catholics. On 4 October, 1883, the property of the 3d Universalist church society, on the southeast corner of Bleecker and Downing streets, was purchased by James Clyne for Father Richard L. Burtsell, of the church of the Epiphany, and on 18 November of that year the church was re-dedicated as the church of St. Benedict the Moor, the Rev. Mr. Burke being appointed its pastor. This is the first church for colored Roman Catholics in the United States.
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