Pope Francis Appoints New Bishop of Arlington


ARLINGTON, Va.  - Pope Francis today appointed Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, 59, to serve as the fourth Bishop of Arlington. Until today, he was serving as Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh.  He succeeds Bishop Paul S. Loverde, 76, who has led the Diocese since 1999.

A press conference will be held today with Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Loverde -and live-streamed at www.arlingtondiocese.org.     

When:           Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 10 a.m.
Where:         Burke Hall (Lower level of the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More)
                       3901 N Cathedral Lane, Arlington, VA 22203

Bishop Burbidge will assume leadership of the Diocese during a Mass of Installation on December 6, 2016. Until that time, Bishop Loverde will serve as Apostolic Administrator. 

A 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 our 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. 

He currently serves as Chair of the USCCB Committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, of which he has been a member since 2007. He is also a member of the Administrative and Communications Committees. Since 2008, Bishop Burbidge has been an advisor for the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.

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 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.

His Curriculum Vitae is available here, and included in the press materials provided at the press conference.    

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: 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.   

More information about Bishop Burbidge and the transition will be posted online at arlingtondiocese.org, catholicherald.com, Twitter and Facebook. 

Follow @arlingtonchurch and #BishopBurbidge online to join the digital conversation.


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, five missions, and 17,600 students attend 44 Catholic elementary and high schools. 

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