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Notable Irish Members (Historic): Bishop Thomas Burke

Thomas Martin Aloysius Burke (January 10, 1840—January 20, 1915) was an Irish-born clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Albany from 1894 until his death in 1915. 

Thomas Burke was born in Swinford, County Mayo, and came to the United States with his father, a physician, in 1850, settling in Utica, New York. He received his early education under the Christian Brothers in Utica, and attended St. Michael's College in Toronto, Canada. In 1856, he entered St. Charles College in Ellicott City, Maryland, where he befriended his fellow classmate James Gibbons. He completed his theological studies at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore.

 

Burke was ordained to the priesthood on June 30, 1864. He then served as a curate at St. John's Church in Albany until 1865, when he succeeded John J. Conroy as pastor of St. Joseph's Church in the same city. He became vicar general under Bishop Francis McNierney in 1887, and was named a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in 1890. The new Vicar-General was, by apostolic authority, June, 1890, created a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, and in June, 1894, he was elevated to the dignity of Commander of the Grand Cross of Jerusalem.

 

On May 15, 1894, Burke was appointed the fourth Bishop of Albany by Pope Leo XIII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following July 1 from Archbishop Michael Corrigan, with Bishops Bernard John McQuaid and Patrick Anthony Ludden serving as co-consecrators, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. During his administration, he enlarged the Boys' Asylum in Albany, reduced diocesan debt, and renovated the cathedral. He died at age 75.