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Archives Keeping Campus Ministry on the move

Nov. 21, 2018

By Amanda Conklin
Contributing Writer

CANTON – Only one year into his diaconate, Deacon Richard Burns has taken on a new role as coordinator of Deacon Richard BurnsCampus Ministry.

Asked shortly after his ordination to take on the new position, Deacon Burns said he did not hesitate.

“I was ordained to serve,” he said. “So, when the opportunity opened up - not only an opportunity, but, the opportunity – I said ‘yes.’ It felt like a comfortable fit. Students keep me young.”

Deacon Burns balances his Campus Ministry duties with his role as husband to Kathy (married for 32 years), dad to Michael, and his “day job” as manager of Community and Customer for National Grid.

A bit different than the challenge of keeping our lights on during North Country ice and snow storms, Deacon Burns says the biggest challenge in campus ministry thus far is understanding that, just like the North Country, every location is unique.

“It has been a challenge understanding the diversity of ministry,” he said. “One might tend to think it is monolithic, but we have four main locations with active campus ministries, and every one is different. We serve the needs of the students, and the students are different. It has been humbling. It is remarkable how much our campus ministers do.”

While his job at National Grid has him serving four counties and frequently on the go, Deacon Burns also enjoys staying on the move by sailing, bicycling and canoeing.

He is an avid stargazer and often incorporates spirituality into this hobby.

Deacon Burns is also a “holy roller,” as enjoys riding his motorcycle. Deacon Burns is applying his “just-keep-moving” mentality to campus ministry.

“I was sort of thrown off the end of the dock with campus ministry,” he said. “I’ve found the surface and now I need to find where to swim... On the campuses we currently serve, the ministries are doing well, but the ones we aren’t serving need help.”

Though it has its challenges, working with the young people of the diocese has been energizing for Deacon Burns.

“To see young people not only maintaining, but growing in faith, that’s not what the world thinks is happening, and it challenges me to grow my own faith,” he said.

Deacon Burns suggested young adults and adult continue to pursue opportunities to grow in faith.

“Don’t feel like you’ve ‘graduated’, because you receive all the sacraments,” he said. “Find opportunities to grow in faith even if it feels uncomfortable.”

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