Tim Campbell, age 8, had basketball practice that cold Monday
night. But instead he asked his dad, John, if he could see Arlington Bishop
Michael F. Burbidge celebrate Mass at their home parish of Sacred Heart of
Jesus Church in Winchester.
Many parishioners and Catholics from other parishes in the
deanery set aside their usual evening activities Jan. 9 to see the bishop on
his first stop through the diocese.
“It was a great privilege for Winchester to be the first,” said
Father Stanley J. Krempa, pastor of Sacred Heart and head of Deanery IV, one of
the seven administrative units of the diocese. This deanery consists of 10 parishes
and missions from Front Royal to Madison County. “The people were very enthused
when they found out he was coming,” said Father Krempa.
The nearly full church was still decorated with red and white
poinsettias as Bishop Burbidge preached on the Baptism of the Lord. “Like John
the Baptist, in the witness and example of our lives, may we always point
others to Jesus,” he said.
The bishop explained his episcopal motto, “Walk Humbly with Your
God,” and encouraged the faithful to journey toward heaven with one another.
“As brothers and sisters in Christ, helping and encouraging one another, I will
be counting on your support in this new journey that I undertake,” he said.
He also asked the diocese to renew its commitment to faithfulness
and thankfulness, expressing his own gratitude for his new ministry. “At this
moment, my heart is so grateful that God has chosen me to be the bishop of
Arlington,” he said. “As we are nourished with the body and blood of Jesus
Christ, may we go forth with the renewed commitment to be grateful for God’s
blessing and to be faithful to the truth of the Gospel.”
Jessica Contreras and her mother, Angelica Hernandez, parishioners
of Sacred Heart, came to meet and welcome the bishop to the diocese. They
especially enjoyed the bilingual Mass, a nod to the sizable Hispanic presence
in the parish.
Hernandez also noted, “It’s the first time I’ve received communion
from a bishop.”
Melanie Griffy, music director at St. John Bosco Church in
Woodstock, came with her mother, Carin Delancey. They found the bishop to be
youthful, energetic and committed to his new ministry. “It’s lovely to have
him. This is a historic moment,” said Delancey.
“We’ve been very blessed in the Arlington Diocese and I think
that God has furthered His blessing with Bishop Burbidge,” said Griffy.
The bishop is scheduled to celebrate Mass in the six other
deaneries including at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington Jan.10 and
All Saints Church in Manassas Jan.11. The remaining schedule includes St. Theresa
Church in Ashburn Jan.13, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in
Fredericksburg Jan.17 and Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna Jan.18. The
bishop will conclude his tour at St. Bernadette Church in Springfield Jan. 23. All
Masses begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by a reception.