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June 21, 2002

REVEREND MONSIGNOR MICHAEL BURBIDGE NAMED AUXILIARY BISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA

Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, announced at a news conference today that Pope John Paul II appointed Reverend Monsignor Michael F. Burbidge, Rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Bishop- Elect Burbidge, age 45 (born June 16, 1957), will be the second youngest Auxiliary Bishop in the United States (The youngest is The Most Reverend Jose S. Vasquez, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, born July 9, 1957 and ordained a Bishop on January 23, 2002). Cardinal Bevilacqua said, "Bishop-Elect Burbidge enters the episcopal ministry equipped with many talents of intelligence, experience and leadership. Above all, he is a priest who through a life of prayer and piety, strives to imitate Jesus, the Good Shepherd."

At the news conference, Bishop-Elect Burbidge told reporters, "Some may ask, ‘Is this not a difficult time to be appointed a bishop?' I respond by saying, ‘There could not be a better time to be named a bishop!' The Church and the world, more than ever, are looking to its bishops for leadership and guidance. With the Lord's help, I will offer these gifts to God's people."

There are currently two active Auxiliary Bishops in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, The Most Reverend Robert P. Maginnis and The Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino. Bishop-Elect Burbidge will join them as an Auxiliary Bishop when he is ordained by Cardinal Bevilacqua. The ordination will likely take place the first week of September 2002. The exact date is yet to be determined.

With this appointment, Bishop-Elect Burbidge will become only the third Auxiliary Bishop to also be Rector of a Seminary. (The Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon is Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and Rector of Saint John's Seminary College in Brighton, Mass. The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron is Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit and Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.) Bishop-Elect Burbidge said, "In a special way, I celebrate this day with all those associated with Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, especially our seminarians and deacons. I was very pleased that, upon informing me of my appointment as Auxiliary Bishop, His Eminence, Cardinal Bevilacqua, added that I will remain as Rector of Saint Charles Seminary. The last three years spent with our future priests have renewed my own Priesthood. Our candidates know how much they mean to me and I promise to serve them with a renewed spirit."

Michael F. Burbidge was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Mr. and Mrs. Francis and Shirley Burbidge, who currently reside in Broomall, Pennsylvania. The parents of Bishop-Elect Burbidge attended the news conference as did his brother, Mr. Francis Burbidge, Junior, and niece Ms. Kelly Burbidge. Father Burbidge graduated from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained in 1984. He served as Parochial Vicar at Saint Bernard Parish in Philadelphia from 1984 to 1986 and taught at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Delaware County from 1986 to 1990. During 1990-91, Father Burbidge served on the faculty of Archbishop Wood High School and became Dean of Students at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1991. Father Burbidge served as Administrative Secretary to Cardinal Bevilacqua from 1992 to 1999. In 1998, he was named Honorary Prelate (Monsignor). Monsignor Burbidge was named Rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania in 1999.

Statement of
Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua
on the appointment of Reverend Monsignor Michael Burbidge as Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
June 21, 2002


As the Church in Philadelphia, after many dark days, looks forward with great hope to the dawn of a new era of holiness and vitality, it is providential that God gives us a sign of this hope in the gift of a new shepherd, a new successor to the Apostles. With immense happiness, I announce the glad tidings that His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, has appointed as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Monsignor Michael F. Burbidge, presently rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

My heart is filled with gratitude to Almighty God for this blessing that He has granted to the Church in Philadelphia. I am most thankful to our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, for appointing Bishop-Elect Burbidge in recognition of the increasing spiritual and pastoral needs of the Archdiocese.

Bishop-Elect Burbidge enters the episcopal ministry equipped with many talents of intelligence, experience and leadership. Above all, he is a priest who, through a life of prayer and piety, strives to imitate Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Truly this is the day the Lord has made. And so, I ask all the faithful – laity, religious and clergy – to be glad and rejoice with me in welcoming Bishop-Elect Michael Burbidge as our new Auxiliary Bishop and in praying that, throughout his episcopal ministry, God will grant him an abundance of His blessings and Mary our Mother will ever protect him.

Statement by Bishop-elect Michael F. Burbidge
News Conference
June 21, 2002


With a spirit of joy and humility, I offer praise and thanks to Almighty God for having called me to be His priest and now His bishop. I express deep gratitude to Our Holy Father Pope John Paul II for this appointment and to him I promise my undying loyalty. I also thank His Excellency Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, for his confidence in me. In a special way, I convey my sincere appreciation to His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua for having considered me a suitable candidate for the office of Auxiliary Bishop. It will be a privilege and an honor to assist him in his important ministry.

In my work for seven years as Administrative Secretary to the Archbishop, I was given both a vision of the universal Church and a keener awareness of the duties of a Bishop as I watched His Eminence fulfill his daily responsibilities. In Cardinal Bevilacqua, I saw one who carried out his work with dedication, enthusiasm, and a constant dying to self. He emphasizes the need for a Bishop to be visible to God's people; to teach the truth of the Gospel with conviction and compassion; and to serve others without ever counting the cost. On this day, I assure you, Your Eminence, of my desire to imitate you and of my commitment to support you.

I am extremely blessed to share this day with so many people who have influenced my life especially those with whom I worked and for whom I was privileged to serve as: a parochial vicar, a high school teacher, a resident priest, a chaplain, and an administrator in the Archdiocesan Office Center. I rejoice with my brother-priests ever confident of their fraternal support. In a special way, I celebrate this day with all those associated with Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, especially our seminarians and deacons. I was very pleased that, upon informing me of my appointment as Auxiliary Bishop, His Eminence added that I will remain as Rector of Saint Charles Seminary. The last three years spent with our future priests have renewed my Priesthood. Our candidates know how much they mean to me and I promise to serve them with a renewed spirit.

The Lord has blessed me in allowing me to share this day with my family. I have one brother who is my best friend and in rasing his three children demonstrates the qualities of a true "father." He has dedicated his life to them. He loves them and so do I. It was a very emotional moment when I informed my parents of this appointment. They love the Church with all their hearts and they love their priests. My parents, who this month celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary, have offered me the most powerful example of what it means to remain faithful to promises made. I will be a good Bishop if I come close to imitating their selflessness, faithfulness, and humility.

Some may ask, "Is this not a difficult time to be appointed a bishop?" I respond by saying, "There could not be a better time to be named a bishop!" The Church and the world, more than ever, are looking to their bishops for leadership and guidance. With the Lord's help, I will offer these gifts to God's people. Most important, in my roles of assisting our Archbishop, working with my brother priests, training future priests, and serving all the faithful, I will strive to grow in holiness and help others to do the same.

This day I seek the intercession of Mary our Mother and Saint Charles Borromeo and I ask for God's grace so that I may be found always as a loyal servant and as a faithful disciple who trusts the past to the mercy of God, the present to the love of God, and the future to the providence of God.

Contact
Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist
215-587-3747

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