1) He’s a country music fan.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said in his September 2015 column for NC Catholics, “Although I have never
mentioned it publicly for fear that my nieces and nephews might disown me, I am
a big fan of country music.” The bishop loves Kenny Chesney, especially the
song “Back Where I Come From.” He also has told married couples to listen to the
country love ballad, “I Do,” by Mark Wills.
2) His first job was at Sears.
Bishop Burbidge started working at the department store as a
teenager. Though he had hoped to work in the sporting goods section, he instead
was assigned to the outdoor nursery. He told Raleigh teens at a pro-life rally
that although he knew nothing about plants, he found someone to show him the
ropes. “I met a friend who worked in
that department for a few years. He knew each variety of plant by name,” he
3) He has a love for (the name) Francis.
Bishop Burbidge revealed the many connections he has to “Francis”
at his Oct. 4 press conference in Arlington on the feast of St. Francis of
Assisi. In addition to being the name of the pope who transferred him to the
Arlington Diocese, “Francis was the name of my father, the name of my brother …
the name of my nephew, grandnephew. It is also my confirmation name,” he said.
4) He’s a longtime friend of Bishop Loverde.
His friendship with Bishop Loverde began when he became rector of
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. “He was very attentive to the
seminarians, very hands on, he wanted to know everything. So as rector, he had
no problem contacting me,” said Bishop Burbidge.
“I think our friendship really grew in 2002 when I became a
bishop. He recognized that this new bishop was walking into a world that can be
a bit intimidating. … He was the first bishop to come over to me and say, ‘Let
me show you the ropes here and let’s go out to lunch.’ ”
Whenever Bishop Burbidge drove his mother from Raleigh to her
home in Philadelphia, he would give Bishop Loverde a call once they reached the
boundaries of the Arlington Diocese.
“My mom would always say, ‘He sounds like such a nice man.’ ”
5) He loves children.
Bishop Burbidge is well-known for his love for students. Raleigh
Superintendent of Schools Mike Fedewa said he has dozens of funny stories from
watching the bishop interact with children.
“I wish I had kept a log of what the kids said to him. It’s
priceless,” Fedewa said.
Once, the bishop was visiting a second-grade class where a
picture of both Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop Burbidge hung on the whiteboard. He
told them, ‘Good morning, so good to be with you. Now, who is the good-looking
guy on the whiteboard?’ They all replied, ‘Pope Benedict!’ ”