The Rev. Robert J. Burbank, 83, retired Pastor Emeritus of St. Vincent de Paul Church in East Haven died February 4, 2021 in Yale New Haven Hospital. Born in Hartford on January 6, 1938, son of the late Walter and Margaret Furlong Burbank, he attended St. Augustine School, Cathedral High School and Holy Trinity High School, all in Hartford, before entering St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. After completing his studies at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, MD, he was ordained to the priesthood on May 7, 1964 by Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien. Fr. Burbank was Assistant Pastor at the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, St. Thomas in Thomaston and Assumption Parish in Manchester. He then became the Administrator of St. Gabriel Parish in Milford, and later St. Stephen in Hamden. On December 6, 1973 he became Co-Pastor of St. Rita Parish in Hamden. He was then appointed to St. James Parish in Manchester until May of 1984 when he became the priest-member of the First Collaborative Ministry Team. Together with Deacon Richard Santello and Pastoral Minister Gail Bellucci, he established and pastured the Parish of St. Elizabeth Seton in Rocky Hill. On August 1, 1996, he became Pastor Emeritus at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in East Haven. From 2008-2016, Father Bob was retired, in residence at St. Mary Church in Branford. Fr. Burbank received a Certificate of Pastoral Counseling from Connecticut Valley Hospital, and pursued further studies at Loyola University in Baltimore, the American College in Louvain, Belgium, and the University of California at Berkeley. He was chair of the Priests Retreat Commission for many years, and then was appointed Director of Liturgy and Music for the Archdiocese of Hartford until 1995. During that time, he taught Liturgy in various places and was an active member of the national Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commission for many years. Fr. Burbank led many weekends for the Cursillo movement and preached retreats for liturgy committee members and Catholic School faculties, among others. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Rev. William M. Burbank. He is survived by several cousins.
Visiting hours will be held in St. John Bosco Parish at St. Mary’s Church, 731 Main St. in Branford Tuesday evening from 4:00 -7:00. The Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Bob will be Private, with the Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford, as the principal celebrant. The Mass will be livestreamed Wednesday morning at 11:00 AM and can be viewed through www.facebook.com/saintjohnboscobranford or www.youtube.com/saintjohnboscobranford. Burial will follow in the family plot at Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield. Masks and social distancing are required for all services. The Monahan, Cox, Smith & Crimmins Funeral Home, Inc. is in care of his arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Josephine Bakhita Parish 767 Elm St. Rocky Hill, CT 06067.
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