November 30, 2012

Archbishop Tobin talks about ‘the gift of family’ in his own life

In Conversation with Archbishop Tobin logo“As years go on, I become much more aware and more grateful for the gift of one’s family, beginning with my parents. My mother had five cousins and three aunts who were nuns. She was the first woman in several generations to marry.

“My dad’s mother immigrated to Boston and came from a rather poor, passionate and rollicking group of shanty Irish.

“You have this wonderfully pious mother—and a father who came out of a really tough background and who was a great football player. They found a love that not only united them, but brought the best out of each of them. And we kids were the benefit of that.

“I think the greatest gift my father gave me was an image of manhood. A man in the best sense. A chivalry toward women. A

self-sacrificing love for his family. My father was strong. He liked his occasional beer and a cigar. And he never once sent me to church. He took me with him. When I was kneeling next to him, I wanted to be like him.

“My dad died when he was 54, and he left my mother with 13 children, the youngest of whom were 5 and 6. So I know what it is a bit to be in a troubled family, a family that has to struggle against odds.

“So I hope the ministry of the Church in central and southern Indiana will have a special place in its heart for families, and not simply the nice and easygoing families, but the families who struggle—families like my family with a single mother who, with the help of her husband in heaven, had to raise 13 of us. And when people say, ‘Mrs. Tobin, how wonderful!—13 children and they all went to college,’ her response is, ‘How wonderful!—13 children and they all practice their faith.’ ” †

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