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Alumni from St. Thomas More High School in Philadelphia make a road trip for their namesake

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“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.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017