Well-wishers share their hopes and optimism for the new bishop's success

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From as far as Raleigh and as near as Arlington, close to 1,400 people came to witness the installation of Bishop Michael F. Burbidge Dec. 6 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington. There were more than 40 people watching the installation from the gym of St. Thomas More Cathedral School.

They clapped and cheered along with those in the church after the reading of the Apostolic Letter, and laughed as Bishop Burbidge excitedly showed the letter to the people, as is the custom.

Lizz Murphy, a friend of Bishop Burbidge and parishioner at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary, N.C., came to the installation from Raleigh. She said she will miss Bishop Burbidge.

“He is a very approachable and spiritual man,” she said.

For many, including Katlyn Marshall from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge, this was the first opportunity to attend an installation. “I’m excited to see it,” she said.

Edward Jones of St. Joseph Church in Alexandria said he hopes for many productive years with Bishop Burbidge at the helm.

“Based on his accomplishments in Raleigh, I’m looking forward to him being very successful here, as well,” he said.

Students from Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria were impressed with the experience of the installation.

For sophomore Jake Carlo, the part of the ceremony that stuck out the most was “the papal nuncio reading the letter from the pope.”

Junior Francesca Leoncir, enjoyed the petitions being read in different languages, “especially Tagalog because my family is Filipino,” she said.

Tom Curry, head of school at Bishop Ireton, said he was impressed with the themes in the Scriptures of joy, hospitality and humility.

“There are three Francises that have that as their theme: our pope, our new bishop and the patron saint of Bishop Ireton, St. Francis de Sales,” he said. “They share those themes in common. So I was very struck by that.”

Bishop Burbidge’s godmother, Joan Sullivan, who lives in Delaware County, Pa., attended the installation.

“He calls me Aunt Joan, but I’m his cousin,” she said. “I had five children and he married four of them and was a seminarian on the altar for the other one. I’m very proud of him. I was there for his ordination.”

Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom College in Front Royal, said the college is well-represented at the installation by alumni priests and seminarians.

“It’s a great honor and joy to be part of Arlington and throughout the college's history we’ve been blessed with wonderful bishops and great relationships,” he said. “We look forward to that relationship with Bishop Burbidge.”

Contributing to this story was Zoey Maraist and Elizabeth A. Elliott

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016