Bishop Michael Burbidge, the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh for the past decade, is leaving to become the bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, Va.
Burbidge departs as his greatest physical legacy in North Carolina takes shape off Western Boulevard in Raleigh. Burbidge launched the planning for The Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, the 2,000-seat mother church for the diocese that is expected to be completed next spring.
Burbidge, who came to North Carolina from Philadelphia, was appointed bishop in Arlington by Pope Francis. As is standard in the Catholic Church, Burbidge did not seek the position, nor did he know he was being considered for it, until he got the call from the Pope, said Billy Atwell, spokesman for the Diocese of Raleigh.
“The life of a priest, the life of a bishop, is one of obedience, one of sacrifice,” Atwell said. “When the Holy Father calls, you go.”
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Burbidge is expected to be introduced in Arlington during a press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday and will be officially installed there on Dec. 6. He will perform the administrative duties of a bishop in North Carolina until Dec. 6, and a group of priests from the diocese will appoint an interim administrator to serve when he leaves until the Pope appoints a new bishop.
Atwell said there’s no set time for when a new Raleigh bishop will be named.
Burbidge issued a statement Tuesday morning that read in part: “Over the past 10 years, I have had the profound pleasure of serving the great people of the Diocese of Raleigh. From the moment I stepped foot in North Carolina, I was welcomed with warmth and love that I have never forgotten. ... It is with great certainty that while I will leave the Diocese of Raleigh later this year, the next Bishop will be welcomed with the same joy and love that I encountered.”