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Bishop Burbidge begins tour of the diocese

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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. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017