Project 1 – Rev. James Burns

Renfrew Mercury
February 1, 1884

The announcement of the death of the Rev. James Burns, at the early age of 29 years, will be received with sorrow, not only by his friends in this vicinity, but by many companions of his youth, now widely scattered in various parts of the continent, but who feel a deep interest in any event connected with Renfrew. The deceased was a son of Mr. John Bums, one of the earliest settlers in this village, was well and favourably known to most of the residents, specially to those in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, in which he was brought up, and of which he subsequently became a priest. He received his early education in the Public School (before the Separate School was established) and in the High School, and was distinguished as a scholar of more than average ability. Although quiet in disposition, his genial and pleasant manners always secured him friends among those with whom he became acquainted. His Theological education was pursued at St Joseph’s College, Ottawa, and after he was ordained in October 1881, in the chapel of the college by Msg. Bishop Duhamel. He was sent as curate to the Gatineau Point parish, where he remained for six months, till his health commenced to fail.

After two months in Ottawa hospital he returned to his parents’ home here. During the absence of Rev. P. Rougier last year on a visit to Europe, Rev. J. Burns was in charge of the parish. His health however, continued to fail, and since the of the pastor, he has been an invalid, nearly always confined to the house. His decline towards the last was rapid, and although his relatives were aware that his end was near, the news of his death on Monday was a shock to many of the residents, who had only very recently learned of the serious nature of his illness. The affection with which he had so lately spiritually ministered, and the general esteem in which he was held by the community, was manifested by the large attendance of all denominations at the funeral service on Thursday. The remains of the lamented deceased were borne in an open coffin from the residence of his father to the church, the funeral procession being led by the clergy, and followed by a dense throng of mourners.

The pall bearers were Messrs. B Brennan, P. Devine, R. Barry, D. O’Connor, John J. Devine, F. Devine, Wm. Barry and John McGuire. Marshalls Messrs. P. Devine Sr. and C. Enright. The following clergymen were present – His Lordship the Bishop of Cythers (P) Vicar Apostolic of Pontiac, Rev. Father Lavin, P.P, of Pakenham, Rev. Father Brunet P.P. of Portage du Fort, Rev. Father Foley P.P. Almonte, Rev. Father Rougier, P.P. Renfrew, Rev. Father Chaine P.P. Arnprior, Rev. Father Coffey editor of the Catholic Record Ottawa, Rev. Father Fillatre OML Professor of Philosophy College of Ottawa, Rev. Father Cole St. Patrick’s Church, Ottawa, His Lordship celebrated solemn High Mass, attended by Rev. Father Fillatre OMI as assistant priest, and Rev. Fathers Lavin and Devine as deacon and sub-deacon. The Rev. Father Coffey, taking his text from the book of Judas Maccabous, compared the death of that Jewish hero, and the lamentations of the people for him, to that of a Christian Priest, who had died in the duties of his sacred office, and the grief felt on this occasion. He eloquently eulogized the virtues of his deceased friend. The corpse, after being blessed by his Lordship, was borne round the church and finally deposited in the vault under the sanctuary.