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Faithful gather to pray on eve of Bishop Burbidge's installation

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As darkness fell Dec. 5, candles on the altar of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington burned brightly in preparation for evening prayer. In contrast to the large, joyful pageantry that greeted Bishop Michael F. Burbidge during his installation as bishop of Arlington, vespers was a simple, intimate gathering of his fellow clergy, men and women religious, and his close family and friends. 

Back and forth, the choir and the congregation sang passages from the Bible, such as Psalm 45, the marriage of the king, and the Magnificat, accompanied by the harp, clarinet and organ. They sang hymns, offered petitions and prayed the Lord’s Prayer.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said Pope Francis had given the Arlington Diocese an early Christmas gift in Bishop Burbidge. He thanked Bishop Paul S. Loverde for his years of service, which was followed by a lengthy round of applause. 


In his homily, Bishop Burbidge noted that a few miles away in the nation’s capital, a political transition was taking place. Leaders were gathering to fill positions of power, ensuring a smooth shift.

“However the church in her infinite wisdom and with her rich ecclesiology and tradition makes this transition so much easier,” he said. “Here in the diocese, my team is already in place, beginning with my brother priests.”

Bishop Burbidge thanked the priests, deacons, religious and lay people for the guidance they would give him in the coming months. “Transition and change are not always easy,” he said. “We are walking together as brothers and sisters, always walking humbly with our God in this new and exciting moment, and all the days of our lives.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016