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Bishop Burbidge Celebrates Mass on Third Anniversary

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Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral, August 4, the third anniversary of his installation as Bishop of Raleigh. The day is the Feast Day of Saint John Vianney, patron of priests, who died on August 4, 150 years ago.

Bishop Burbidge spoke of Saint John Vianney’s dedication to Jesus throughout his ministry and how the man known as the “Cure d’Ars” allowed himself to be used as a vessel of Christ to effect change in the small French town of Ars, where many had turned their back on Gospel values.

The Bishop explained that Saint John Vianney’s success in converting the hearts of the people was the result of “his intimate relationship with the Lord, rooted in a disciplined spiritual life.” Bishop Burbidge added, “That sustained him, as well as his knowledge that what his people needed most was not John Vianney. They needed the Lord.”

Joining the Bishop at Mass was Bishop Emeritus F. Joseph Gossman and 30 priests serving in the Diocese. Bishop Burbidge expressed his gratitude for their priestly service, adding, “We need you and we need you at your very best.” He encouraged them to renew their commitment “to a disciplined spiritual life rooted in fervent and constant prayer before the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

Following the homily, the Bishop blessed a statue of Saint John Vianney that will be taken to each of the eight deaneries of the Diocese between now and June 19, 2010, the closing day of the Year for Priests. The pilgrimage statue will remain at the Cathedral through the end of August and then be taken to several parishes in the Raleigh Deanery. In October it will travel to the Piedmont Deanery, then to Newton Grove Deanery in November. In January it will proceed to Fayetteville Deanery, then in subsequent months to New Bern, Albemarle, Cape Fear and Tar River. In June, it will return to the Cathedral. While in each deanery, parishes may choose to hold a novena, a Rosary service or a Holy Hour for priests.

Additional information on parishes that will host the statue will be announced in the coming weeks.