Pope Francis has tapped two active bishops to head new dioceses, naming Bishop Paul D. Etienne of Cheyenne as the new Archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska, and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh as Bishop of Arlington, Virginia.
Announced in an Oct. 4 communique from the Vatican, the appointments
came as the former bishops of Anchorage and Arlington go into
retirement, after having reached the age limit.
Archbishop-elect Paul D. Etienne, 57, is an Indiana outdoorsman with many relatives also in the priesthood or religious life.
Born in Philadelphia in 1959, the bishop grew up as one of six
children to parents who have been married more than 50 years. Two of his
brothers are priests, and his sister is a religious.
He graduated from the University of St. Thomas/St. John Vianney
College Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. with a degree in Business
Administration before studying at the North American College in Rome and
receiving a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian
Following his priestly ordination in 1992 for the Archdiocese of
Indianapolis, Fr. Etienne worked as an associate pastor and assistant
vocation director before returning to Rome to receive his License in
Upon his return to the U.S. in 1995, he served as the vocation
director for the archdiocese, vice-rector of the Bishop Simon Brute
College Seminary in Indianapolis and as a parish priest.
He also served as a member of the Council of Consultors and Council
of Priests for the diocese before being appointed as Bishop of Cheyenne
in 2009. No date has yet been announced for when he will take over as
Archbishop of Anchorage.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, 59 and who until now has served as the
bishop of Raleigh, North Carolina, will be present in Arlington to
announce his appointment as the fourth bishop of the diocese.
Born June 16, 1957, he attended Catholic grade schools and graduated
from Cardinal O'Hara High School, Springfield, PA, in 1975. He then
entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained a priest of the
Archdiocese of Philadelphia by John Cardinal Krol in 1984.
The bishop holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Masters in
Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, as well as a Masters in
Education Administration from Villanova University. He also holds a
doctorate in Education from Immaculata College.
He served as a parish priest for St. Bernard Church in Philadelphia
before being named to the faculties of, successively, Cardinal O'Hara
High School, Archbishop Wood High School and St. Charles Borromeo
Seminary, where he also served as Dean of Students until 1992.
In 1992 he was named Administrative Secretary to Anthony Cardinal
Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, a role that he held until 1999. A
year earlier, he was made Honorary Prelate to Pope John Paul II,
receiving the title of Monsignor. He then served as Rector of St.
Charles Borromeo Seminary until 2004.
Bishop Burbidge was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia in
2002, and in 2006 was named the fifth Bishop of Raleigh. The bishop
currently serves as Chair of the USCCB Committee for Clergy, Consecrated
Life and Vocations, which he has been a member of since 2007.
He is also a member of the Administrative and Communications
Committees, and is an advisor for the National Conference of Diocesan
The bishop is also a current member of the Board of Trustees for The
Catholic University of America, and has recently completed a 5-year term
as Co-Chair of the International Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue, which
is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
In an initial Oct. 4 statement on his appointment as the new Bishop
of Arlington, Burbidge said serving in Raleigh has been a “profound
pleasure,” and that he has never forgotten the “warmth and love” he was
He thanked the priests, deacons, religious and lay people for their
support and kindness, and voiced his certainty that he will be welcomed
to Arlington with “the same joy and love” he found in his former