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Burbidge Delivers First Sermon As Bishop

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RALEIGH, N.C. — In his first Sunday sermon to his new following of well over 180,000 Catholics across his diocese, Bishop Michael Burbidge told a joke about three girls and what their uncles do for a living.

The first little girl said her uncle wrote a few sentences on a piece of paper and called himself a poet and received hundreds of dollars for his work. The second girl said her uncle wrote several lines on a piece of paper and called it a short story. He made thousands of dollars.

"My niece then said that her uncle writes a few sentences on a piece of paper and calls it a homily," Burbidge said. "It took four people with baskets to carry all the money."

The crowd applauded. Burbidge would go on to deliver a message of patience in a search for peace to the congregation at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

"Those words from today's gospel provide us with a powerful reminder and a special invitation," said Burbidge, who was installed on Friday as the fifth bishop of the Raleigh diocese, and the first new bishop in 31 years.

Pope Benedict XVI chose Burbidge to succeed retiring Bishop Joseph Gossman.

Sharon Hahn is a converted Baptist. For her, Sunday's service had a special meaning.

"This is all pretty new to me," Hahn said. "So, it was a great day -- absolutely beautiful. We felt privileged to be a part of that."


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