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Rest in Peace - Msgr. Michael Burke

Rest in Peace - Msgr. Michael Burke

MADISON – The Reverend Monsignor Michael L. Burke, age 72, of Madison, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Wis. Affectionately known as “Fr. Mike,” he was born in Dodgeville, Wis., on March 11, 1948, and grew up in Darlington, Wis. He was the son of Laurence and Claribel (Gough) Burke and the oldest of eight siblings.

Fr. Mike attended Darlington public schools and started his collegiate studies at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa. He continued studies at Edgewood College in Madison and received his Bachelor of Arts degree with course work in theology and philosophy at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in St. Francis, Wis. He then received a Masters of Divinity at St. Francis Major Seminary, St. Francis, Wis.

Fr. Mike was ordained a Catholic priest on May 24, 1974, and was named a Monsignor on Aug. 16, 2000. He began priestly service at St. Henry Parish, Watertown, and then became an instructor and vocations director for Holy Name Seminary, Madison. He also served for many years as the Diocesan Vocations Director. Fr. Mike was appointed co-rector and then rector of Holy Name Seminary in 1982 and 1983, respectively, and continued to serve as rector for 13 years. He was appointed pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in 1996. He also served as the Chaplain to the Knights of Columbus Council No. 4527. After 21 years as pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish, Fr. Mike retired from full-time active ministry in 2017 as Pastor Emeritus.

During his years of service to the diocese, Fr. Mike served on numerous boards and councils, including the Diocesan Board of Education, the Priest Personnel Board, the Presbyteral Council, the College of Consultors, the Diocesan Finance Council, the board of the Catholic Diocese of Madison Foundation, Inc., the board of the Apostolate to the Handicapped, the St. Vincent de Paul Advisory Board, the Madison Serra Club Board, the Madison Catholic Charities Board, the Vocations Screening Committee of the Diocese of Madison, and the St. Raphael Society Clergy Retirement Plan Board. Fr. Mike received a Leadership Award from Madison Catholic Charities and an Alumni Appreciation Award from Edgewood High School. He also served as the Region VII Director of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, as a consulting member of the NCCB Committee on Vocations, as a member of the National Catholic Educational Association Seminary Board, and as a member of the St. Francis Seminary Board. Fr. Mike was a member of the Mendota Gridiron Club and received the Captain’s Cup by the UW Football players and the Pat O’Dea Award from the Madison Sports Hall of Fame, based on his more than 40 years of service to the University of Wisconsin football team.

A private Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Mike will be celebrated at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church, 5313 Flad Ave., Madison, on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. The Mass will be live-streamed for viewing by the public on the St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church website. Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison will celebrate the Mass, with Fr. Domenic J. Roscioli as homilist. A private burial will follow. Fr. Mike will lay in state for the public complying with public health guidelines, including wearing a mask, on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 12 Noon until 8 p.m. at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church.

He is survived by his siblings, Frank (Ann) Burke, Joe (Julie) Burke, Tom (Connie) Burke, Mary Burke, Kathy (Joe) Laubmeier, and Ann (F. John) Reichling. He is further survived by his nieces and nephews, Jared (Desiree) Burke, Jen (Robert) Franks, Jeremy (Megan) Burke, Mike (Kate) Burke, Dan (Jen) Burke, John (Molly) Burke, Tom (Victoria) Burke, Maggie Burke, Elizabeth (Dan Loewenstein) Burke, Lisa (Jake) Spencer, Rachel Burke, Anne Christianson, Sarah (Josh) Bruecken, Michael Christianson, Andrew (Abby) Laubmeier, Matt Laubmeier, Christopher (Kamber) Reichling, Colleen (Jeremy) Williams, Patrick (fiancée, Kim Mella) Reichling, and Jeff (Abby) Reichling. He is further survived by 21 great-nieces and nephews. Along with his parents, Fr. Mike is also predeceased by his sister, Maggie; his nephew, Jason Burke; and his niece, Katie Reichling.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the St. Maria Goretti Catholic School Endowment Fund, 5405 Flad Ave., Madison, WI 53711; Catholic Charities of Madison, 702 S. High Point Road, Suite 201, Madison, WI 53719; or Society of St. Vincent de Paul, P.O. Box 259686, Madison, WI 53725-9686.

The family would like to sincerely thank Bishop Donald J. Hying for his many kindnesses to Fr. Mike and the SSM St. Mary’s Hospital and All Saints staff who provided him compassionate care. Fr. Mike wanted everyone to know how grateful he was for the support and prayers of his fellow priests, friends, staff members, parishioners, benefactors, volunteers and family over his 46 years of ministry. He opened his heart to everyone he met and genuinely made them feel like they were the most important person in the world and, to Fr. Mike, they were. “Keep Hope Alive!” Online condolences may be made at

Watch Tribute Video


Thursday, September 24, 2020
12 - 8 p.m.
St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church (See Map)

Fr. Mike will lay in state for the public complying with public health guidelines, including wearing a mask.

Please note - Due to school dismissal, the parking lot will have more activity from 2:15 to 3 p.m.

Live Stream Funeral Mass

Friday, September 25, 2020
10:30 a.m.

Please click on the link below to watch the Funeral Mass on YouTube. You can watch the Mass anytime after it has been live streamed.

A Prayer for Fr. Mike

Saints of God, come to his aid!
Come to meet him, Angels of the Lord!
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
may Angels lead you to Abraham's side.

Give him eternal rest, O Lord,
and may your light shine on him forever.

Let us pray.
All-powerful and merciful God,
we commend to you Msgr. Michael Burke, your servant.
In your mercy and love,
blot out the sins he has committed
through human weakness.
In this world he has died:
let him live with you forever.
Through Christ our Lord.

These verses may also be used:

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God,
rest in peace.

Dear Family of Faith

As was shared at all the Sunday Masses, it is with profound sadness that I share the passing of Msgr. Michael Burke, longtime pastor of SMG. Msgr. Burke passed away Saturday evening, September 19, 2020, surrounded by family and friends at SSM Health St. Mary Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, at the age of 72.

As his beloved parish family, we mourn for the love he showed us, the countless sacraments he celebrated for our families and the times we encountered Jesus through him. His words and lessons live on in all of us. It is because of his generous response to God that we recall his service, his dedication, and his priesthood.

In the days and weeks ahead, let us offer our thoughts, prayers, and our very lives as we place Msgr. Burke in the hands of our merciful Lord. With profound affection, we pray for the repose of his soul, for his family and for our parish.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

God bless,
Fr. Scott

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