Red Cross Hong Kong Honors Maryknoll Priest

Father Burke Worked With Marginalized for 30 Years

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HONG KONG, MAY 25, 2010 ( The Red Cross Hong Kong is honoring the late Maryknoll missionary Father Sean Patrick Burke (1946-2009) with its Humanity Award for his dedication to the marginalized in the country.

The Red Cross, in conjunction with the public broadcasting organization Radio and Television Hong Kong, made the announcement Saturday at the presentation of the 3rd annual Humanity Awards.

A statement released by Red Cross Hong Kong praised Father Burke, who had “worked for the betterment of life of the disadvantaged in Hong Kong for three decades.”

In 1978, the year he was ordained and sent to Hong Kong, Father Burke founded Helping Hand a charity that houses and cares for the homeless and impoverished elderly.

The Red Cross also mentioned that Father Burke had helped to advocate for “the new concept of palliative care” and to run the Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care. While at the society, he planned and built the first independent hospice, the Bradbury Hospice, in Hong Kong.

“His tireless and passionate services toward humanity should definitely guide us to the spirit of humanity,” the Red Cross said.

Born in Croyden, England, Sean Burked moved with his family to Ohio at the age of 11. He joined the Maryknoll missionaries in 1971.

In addition to founding Helping Hand, Father Burke was the head chaplain for Hong Kong’s prisons since 1994, and served as the local, and then regional, superior for the Maryknoll missionaries from 2000-2007.

Father Burke died May 5, 2009, in Hong Kong. He was 63.

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