Fr. Devin Burns started as the priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church on June 19.

"I'm looking forward to getting to meet the people of Newton, especially here at Our Lady," Burns said.

Growing up in Wichita, Burns went to St. Francis of Assisi Church and Bishop Carroll High School.

"My family and my teachers at school would encourage me, 'ask God what he wants you to do, because that's what's going to make you happy,'" Burns said.

In his teenage years, Burns said he open to the possibility of going into the priesthood, but didn't feel called until after his freshman year at the University of Kansas. It was then that he taught with Totus Tuus, a program where college students travel to different places to teach children about the Catholic faith.

"When I did that, I think it was the first time that I did what God wanted me to do, rather than just what I wanted me to do," Burns said.

Prior to that experience, participating in faith-based activities was easy because his friends were present. In Totus Tuus, Burns was sent to Denver. Though he did not know anyone there, the summer was a formative one..

"I was really happier in those 10 weeks than I had been that past year at KU when I did what I wanted to do," Burns said.

With some soul searching and prayer, Burns decided to enter seminary.

"It's really more than a career to me; it's a vocation," Burns said. "Just like marriage is a vocation, the priesthood is a vocation. It's a calling from God. It's not necessarily that I wanted to do it. I was open to it; I believed God would make me happy doing it."

After he was ordained, Burns completed the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage through Spain to the tomb of St. James. He spent 27 days on the journey, walking six or seven hours each day.

"It was great, because really the idea of pilgrimage is kind of what our earthly life is as Christians, we're here on this earth, but we're walking somewhere and we're headed towards heaven, hopefully," Burns said. "But that has two components — we're not there yet, but we want to be going in the right direction."

Along the way, he found the slower pace of life brought several insights.

"I got more aware of my surroundings and the people I was with," Burns said.

The next step in his journey is serving the hundreds of families at Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"I think bringing my enthusiasm and my joy for the faith will be helpful, especially to reach the children and teach them about Christ and share the Catholic faith with them," Burns said.

The church members' close relationships, and hospitality, impressed Burns on his arrival.

"It really has a very familial atmosphere where a lot of people know each other and they're very welcoming," Burns said. "They've been so kind to me in bringing me into their community, the recently renovated church and sharing their life with me. It's been a very good and easy situation to step into."

Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, located at 415 S. Ash St., celebrates Mass at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 and 11 a.m. on Sunday, with a Spanish Mass at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information about Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, call 316-283-3499