Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde and has appointed as his successor Raleigh Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, 59.
Bishop Loverde, who turned 76 in September, has led the Arlington Diocese since 1999. Canon law requires all bishops to submit their resignation at age 75.
The changes were announced Oct. 4 in Washington by Msgr. Walter Erbi, the charge d'affaires at the apostolic nunciature to the United States.
Bishop Loverde will serve as apostolic administrator until Bishop Burbidge’s installation, which will take place Dec. 6 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.
Michael F. Burbidge was born June 16, 1957, in Philadelphia, Pa., the second son of Francis and Shirley Burbidge and brother of Francis Burbidge Jr. He graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School, Springfield, Pa., in 1975. From high school he went to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia May 19, 1984, by Cardinal John Krol.
Bishop Burbidge holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and a master’s in theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, a master’s in education administration from Villanova University, as well as a doctorate in education from Immaculata College.
Father Burbidge's first priestly assignment was as parochial vicar of St. Bernard Church in Philadelphia, where he served for two years. From 1986 to1992, he was on the faculties, successively, of Cardinal O'Hara High School, Archbishop Wood High School and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he also served as dean of students.
In 1992, Father Burbidge was named administrative secretary to Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, and served in that capacity until 1999. In 1998, he was named a monsignor.
Msgr. Burbidge was appointed rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1999 and he was ordained an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia in 2002, where he oversaw the Office of the Vicar for Clergy and the Office of Communications.
On June 8, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Burbidge the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh. He was installed in Raleigh Aug. 4.
Bishop Burbidge’s episcopal motto is “Walk Humbly with God.” He will succeed Bishop Loverde, whose episcopal motto is “Encourage and Teach with Patience.”
Paul S. Loverde was born Sept. 3, 1940, in Framingham, Mass. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Bernard Seminary College in Rochester, N.Y., and was ordained a priest Dec. 18, 1965, in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
He earned his licentiate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in June 1966 and received his licentiate in canon law in 1982 from Catholic University in Washington.
He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Hartford Feb. 3, 1988, and was consecrated April 12, 1988. He was installed as the 11th bishop of Ogdensburg Jan. 17, 1994, and the third bishop of Arlington March 25, 1999.
During his time in Arlington, Bishop Loverde has established eight new parishes, dedicated 12 new churches and ordained more than 70 priests. Bishop Loverde also resumed the permanent diaconate program in 2005 after a 20-year hiatus, believing that permanent deacons would be of great help to priests. In 2011, 16 men were ordained to the diaconate. There are now 81 permanent deacons serving the diocese.
Between 2006 and 2013, the bishop penned five letters individually and two with Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo on topics such as the scourge of pornography, appropriate responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the gift of Catholic schools in the United States and the importance of lifelong devotion to the Sacred Heart.
His 2006 letter, “Bought with a Price: Every Man’s Duty to Protect Himself and His Family from a Pornographic Culture,” was reprinted in 2014 and translated into both Spanish and French. Although the letter is directed at porn users, it also encourages all people to recognize the widespread social and cultural effects of porn.
During the bishop’s first year in Arlington, 20 percent of parishioners participated in the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal, and around $4.5 million was raised. By 2016, that number jumped to nearly $17.5 million pledged with 32 percent participation. The BLA has collected more than $170 million since 2000.
The Arlington Diocese was established Aug. 13, 1974. It comprises the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland. It has 69 parishes and five missions with a Catholic population of 457,874.
The diocese’s founding bishop was Thomas J. Welsh, who served from Aug. 13, 1974, to Feb. 8, 1983. He was succeeded by Bishop John R. Keating, who served from Aug. 4, 1983, until his death March 22, 1998.