FATHER Timothy Burke, parish priest in West Bromwich, marked his 92nd birthday on January 3.
Fr Burke has served in the Archdiocese of Birmingham since becoming a priest in 1948. He still celebrates Mass every week, making him one of the longest serving priests in the world.
Fr Burke, who originally comes from Tipperary, has served throughout the Midlands including Bromsgrove, Meir, and Coventry.
Regular mass-goer Michael Doyle from Walsall told The Irish Post: “Since 1961, Father Tim has served the people of the Black Country faithfully and with great devotion. I’d describe him as a very sincere and devout man.
“He’s really in the mould of the great Irish missionary tradition that produced the likes of St Columba or St Aidan; men who took the Gospel to the people of Britain and further afield in Europe. That’s exactly what Father Tim is, a great missionary, and the very best of men.”
From 1968 to the present day Fr Tim has been priest at two parishes: Holy Cross Stone Cross and St Joseph’s, West Bromwich. The Tipperary man has always been teetotal, and a great supporter of the pioneer total abstinence association.
Michael Doyle said that Fr Burke’s birthday was just another working day for the priest. It was a Sunday, and Mass was said as usual. Recently, however, Fr Burke has had time to get back to Tipperary for a short break.
Mr Doyle told The Irish Post that he speaks for all his fellow parishioners when he says: “Thank you Father Tim. Long may you continue in your mission.”