New Bishop of Arlington to be Installed December 6



Bishop Michael F. Burbidge will be the fourth Bishop of Arlington 

ARLINGTON, Va.  - Nearly eight weeks after being named the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington by Pope Francis, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, 59, will take possession of the Diocese at a Mass of Installation:

When:                       Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 2 p.m.

Where:                     Cathedral of Saint Thomas More
                                 3901 N Cathedral Lane
                                 Arlington, Virginia

There will be no general public admission to the Mass of Installation due to the limited seating capacity at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More. Admission will be granted only to those who have tickets.

The Diocese has arranged that the Mass be live-streamed at because of the limited seating.

WMET 1160 AM will also air the Mass of Installation live.

The ceremony will air in its entirety on the EWTN Global Catholic Network at 3 p.m. ET. 

About the ceremony

A ceremonial procession including hundreds of bishops, priests and deacons will precede the Mass. In addition, invited guests representing the diocesan parishes, schools and organizations; religious orders; ecumenical and interreligious leaders; and government leaders will fill the Cathedral.

The rite of installation begins when Reverend Robert Rippy, Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More, welcomes Bishop Burbidge at the door of the Cathedral. Bishop Burbidge then blesses himself and the congregation in the Cathedral with holy water before processing to the sanctuary, where Most Reverend William E. Lori, Metropolitan Archbishop of Baltimore, will present the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Most Reverend Christophe Pierre. Archbishop Pierre will read aloud the Apostolic Letter by which Pope Francis appoints Bishop Burbidge as the fourth Bishop of Arlington.  He then shows the letter to the College of Consultors of the Diocese and then to the congregation. Finally, Archbishop Lori and Archbishop Pierre lead Bishop Burbidge to the cathedra, which is the chair used by the Bishop of Arlington, as a sign of Bishop Burbidge's taking possession of the Diocese of Arlington. It is there that he greets representatives of the various groups in the Diocese, including clergy, religious, families, students and members of other faiths and denominations. At this point, the Mass of Installation proceeds with Bishop Burbidge as the main celebrant and homilist. The prayers of the Mass will be in honor of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, whose feast day is celebrated throughout the universal Catholic Church on December 6.

About Bishop Burbidge

Son of Philadelphia 

Bishop Burbidge was born June 16, 1957, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second son of Francis and Shirley Burbidge.  He attended Catholic grade schools and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School, Springfield, PA, in 1975.  After graduation from high school, he went to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by John Cardinal Krol in 1984. 

Service to Catholic Education and Vocations  

Bishop Burbidge holds a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, an M.A. in Education Administration from Villanova University, and a doctorate in Education from Immaculata College. 

Then-Father Michael Burbidge's first priestly assignment was as Parochial Vicar of St. Bernard Church in Philadelphia, where he served for two years. From 1986-1992 he was on the faculties, successively, of Cardinal O'Hara High School, Archbishop Wood High School and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he also served as Dean of Students.

In 1992 then-Father Burbidge was named Administrative Secretary to Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and served in that capacity until 1999.  In 1998 he was made Honorary Prelate to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor.

Then-Monsignor Burbidge served as Rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary from 1999-2004.  

"Walk Humbly with Your God"

On September 5, 2002, then-Monsignor Burbidge was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia.  He chose as his episcopal motto the words "walk humbly with your God", from the prophet Micah (6:8): "You have been told ... what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God."  Bishop Burbidge's coat of arms includes visual elements which reflect his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Charles Borromeo, Saint Michael (his baptismal patron), as well as the bishop's Irish ancestry.  

National and Global Service to the Church 

Bishop Burbidge's service to the Catholic Church nationwide and globally reflects his long-standing experience in promoting Catholic education, vocations, catechesis, among many other areas of Church life. 

Since 2008, Bishop Burbidge has been an advisor for the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, and serves on the USCCB Communications Committee. Bishop Burbidge is also a current member of the Board of Trustees for The Catholic University of America and also served on the Board of Trustees for St. Charles Borromeo Seminary from 2007-2015.

Bishop Burbidge has been a member of the USCCB Committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations since 2007, and served as Chair between November, 2013, and November 2016.   He was also a member of the USCCB Administrative Committee up until November, 2016.

Bishop Burbidge recently completed a 5-year term as Co-Chair of the International Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

He served as a member of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis from 2005-2008, as well as a member of the Conformity Review Team of the Catechism for the Catholic Church.

Rapid Growth: Diocese of Raleigh (2006-2016)

On June 8, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Burbidge the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh; he was installed in Raleigh on Aug. 4.  As bishop, he has led the Diocese during a period of rapid growth; in the past decade, the number of registered Catholics has increased over 40 percent to more than 200,000, with an estimated population of 430,000 Catholics.  

Bishop Burbidge's pastoral priorities in Raleigh have included the following priorities: promotion of the life and dignity of the human person; faith formation and sacramental practice; the promotion of cultural diversity; promotion of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life; implementation of the national pastoral initiative on marriage; effective stewardship of resources; planning for the effective management of growth; and construction of a new cathedral, the dedication of which is planned for July, 2017.  

Appointment to the Diocese of Arlington

On October 4, 2016, Bishop Burbidge was announced by Pope Francis as the fourth Bishop of Arlington, succeeding Bishop Paul S. Loverde who served the Diocese for 17 years.


The Diocese of Arlington is home to more than 600,000 Catholics living in 21 counties and seven cities in central and northern Virginia. Parishioners live out their faith at 69 parishes and five missions, and 17,500 students attend 44 Catholic elementary and high schools.


Angela Pellerano, Director of Media Relations
(703) 841-2517 (o), (571) 215-8731