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President Emeritus Dr. John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington will be honored during Christendom College’s 2023 Commencement Ceremonies this upcoming May 12-13 on Christendom’s Front Royal, Virginia campus.

President Emeritus Dr. John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington will be honored during Christendom College’s 2023 Commencement Ceremonies this upcoming May 12-13 on Christendom’s Front Royal, Virginia, campus. Haas will deliver this year’s Commencement Address and be awarded the college’s St. Thomas More Medal for Defense of the Faith and Holy Mother Church, while Bishop Burbidge will celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass and be given an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

Haas received his doctorate in moral theology from the Catholic University of America and his licentiate in moral theology from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He also studied at the University of Chicago Divinity School and the University of Munich in Germany. Before assuming the presidency of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Haas was the John Cardinal Krol Professor of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and an adjunct professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. He retired as president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in 2019, remaining on as President Emeritus and as a Senior Fellow.

He has been a consultant to both the Committee for Pro-Life Activities and the Subcommittee on Health Care Issues under the Committee on Doctrine for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as an Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and later a member of the Academy’s Directive Council. In 2011, the Holy Father appointed him as a consulter to the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers. Haas and his late wife, Martha, have nine children and a number of grandchildren.

Bishop Burbidge, who has been a great friend of the college since becoming Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington in 2016, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Catholic grade schools and graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in 1975. After high school he went to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by John Cardinal Krol in 1984.

Bishop Burbidge holds a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in Theology from St. Charles Borromeo, an M.A. in Education Administration from Villanova University, and a doctorate in Education from Immaculata College.

Bishop Burbidge’s first priestly assignment was as parochial vicar of St. Bernard Church in Philadelphia, where he served for two years. From 1986-1992 he was on the faculties, successively, of Cardinal O’Hara High School, Archbishop Wood High School and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he also served as Dean of Students. In 1992, Bishop Burbidge was named administrative secretary to Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and served in that capacity until 1999. In 1998, he was made Honorary Prelate to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor.

Bishop Burbidge was appointed Rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1999. In 2002 he was ordained an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia. As auxiliary bishop, he oversaw the Office of the Vicar for Clergy and the Office of Communications. On June 8, 2006 Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Burbidge the fifth Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh; Bishop Burbidge was installed in Raleigh on August 4, 2006. On October 4, 2016, he was announced by Pope Francis as the fourth Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington; he was installed on December 6, 2016 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More. He currently seves as the chairman of the Pro-Life Activities Committee of the USCCB.

Christendom has been honored to welcome distinguished guests to its Commencement Ceremonies in years past, including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Gerhard Cardinal Muller, Lou Holtz, Patrick Madrid, Alice von Hildebrand, Senator Rick Santorum, Robert Cardinal Sarah, and others.

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