Raleigh bishop says goodbye as he leaves for new assignment

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) —  Many said goodbye Tuesday night to the man who has led Catholics in the Triangle area for a decade.

Bishop Michael Burbidge held his last public mass before being transferred to Arlington, Virginia.

As priests from across the Raleigh Catholic Diocese streamed into Saint Michael The Archangel in Cary, music also filled the room along with hundreds who came together to say goodbye.

“But, I do trust this is part of a bigger plan,” Burbidge said.

Burbidge acknowledged the last several weeks haven’t been easy.

He’s preparing to leave the place he’s called home for the last decade and begin a new assignment as bishop.

“But, I think that’s a good sign. It should hurt. If you love, and then all of a sudden you’re going to be separated from it, it should hurt a little bit,” Burbidge said.

With the growth in the region, he’s been there as new churches have opened and construction began on the new Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral.

“Am I really going to begin all over again?” Burbidge said.

He wanted his last homily to focus on giving thanks and trust.

“To trust that the God who asks this of you is the same God who will give you the strength and the grace you need to fulfill it,” Burbidge said.

Parishioners say his work won’t be forgotten.

“Appreciate all that he has done since he has been here. He has been a great help to a lot of people,” said Helen Hudson of Durham.

“He’s just a kind, giving, loving person. And, he has time for everybody,” added Nadine Blake.

But, now is the time to take the next step.

“Thank you, dear friends, and God bless you always,” Burbidge said.

Until the pope names Bishop Burbidge’s replacement, an administrator will be chosen to oversee the diocese.

There’s no timeline on how long it will be before we learn who the new bishop will be.

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