“St. Tommy More, forevermore.”
Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said he loves the motto of
the St. Thomas More High School Alumni Association in Philadelphia so much that
he told Father Robert J. Rippy, rector of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More,
“Maybe we should make that our theme here.”
Bishop Burbidge addressed the 30 alumni and friends from
Philadelphia at the beginning of his homily March 19 at the cathedral.
“When I was installed as bishop this December, I mentioned in my
homily that providentially my father graduated from a high school in Philadelphia
named after our patron saint, whose name our Cathedral bears — St. Thomas More.
(My father) was so very proud of his school and although the school closed (in
1975), their spirit lives on,” said Bishop Burbidge. “As alumni they continue
to do such good work, including providing tuition assistance so that children
who cannot afford Catholic schools might be able to do so.”
Bishop Burbidge said he attended the alumni association’s annual
Communion breakfast with his father. It draws close to a 1,000 people a year.
The group from Philadelphia attended the Mass and met Bishop
Burbidge afterward. They were in town to see the St. Thomas More exhibit at the
St. John Paul II Shrine in Washington, which closes March 31.
In his installation homily Dec. 6, Bishop Burbidge said, “My
father often said that in addition to receiving an excellent education, he and
his fellow students were constantly challenged to imitate the courageous and
faithful witness of St. Thomas More. (It is) a lesson he passed on to my
brother and me and his grandchildren.”
John Millon, president of the alumni association, read about the
bishop’s reference to his high school in his installation homily. “It’s just
ironic that his father went to St. Thomas More High School, the cathedral here
is St. Thomas More and there’s a few of us still around,” Millon said. “I just
felt like we had to make a trip and we’re happy to be here.”