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
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