December 7, 2012

Family is ‘overjoyed’ by welcome for Archbishop Tobin

Marie Tobin holds her son Jim’s arm during the installation Mass for her oldest son, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, on Dec. 3 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. (Photo by Father Shaun Whittington)

Marie Tobin holds her son Jim’s arm during the installation Mass for her oldest son, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, on Dec. 3 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. (Photo by Father Shaun Whittington)

By Mary Ann Garber

Sunny skies and 69-degree weather on Dec. 3 tied a record high from 1982 as Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin was installed as the sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

The unseasonably warm Advent Monday in Indianapolis wasn’t a surprise for his 89-year-old mother, Marie Terese Tobin of Stoney Point, Ontario, Canada, who had prayed for a wonderful day for her oldest son’s installation as the spiritual leader of Catholics in central and southern Indiana.

(Click here to see more stories, photos and videos from the installation Mass)

“I have met so many beautiful people here,” she said during a reception after the installation Mass, “and I’m so happy that Joe is going to serve them.”

With her 12 other children, their spouses and her grandchildren, Marie was overjoyed to receive the Eucharist from Archbishop Tobin, who served the Church and his Redemptorist order for 21 years in Rome and ministered in nearly 75 countries throughout the world before Pope Benedict XVI named him as the shepherd of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on Oct. 18.

As for the picture-perfect weather, Marie said her late husband, Joseph—who died of a heart attack on Jan. 26, 1977, after helping many people stranded in the historic Blizzard of ’77—has been a wonderful intercessor for sunshine on special days for the Tobin family.

“He does this for weddings,” she said, “and other special occasions.”

Marie said she felt especially close to her late husband during the eucharistic liturgy celebrated by her son after his installation.

“Always when the Eucharist is there,” she said, “because he’s one with the Eucharist.”

Therese Tobin, a prosecuting attorney in St. Clair Shores, Mich., and the 11th sibling, was enjoying the beautiful weather with her daughter, Maeve, and other family members in front of the cathedral after her oldest brother’s liturgy.

“My prayer for him is to have the love and support of everyone around him just as he gives that to us,” she said. “As siblings, we’ve always felt that from him.”

As he settles into his new home in Indianapolis, Therese said, family members are thrilled to be able to visit him more easily.

“Joe is incredibly gracious, and he is an open book,” she said. “What you see is what you get from Joe—which I think is a wonderful trait to have—and I think the people of Indianapolis will figure that out once they get to meet him. He really is loving and open and caring.”

Kathy Vandelinder, a nurse in Grosse Point Park, Mich., and the fourth sibling, said her oldest brother and the rest of the Tobin family have “been embraced by the people here” in the archdiocese.

“I am so happy that he is going to be well loved here,” Kathy said. “Our mother is overjoyed. She is so proud. Mom and Dad are our rock, and are always at the center of our being. We’re all just so proud that the faith they have instilled in us is going on through all of our generations.”

Tom Tobin of Lakeshore, Ontario, and the eighth sibling, said his oldest brother is a very pastoral bishop who enjoys meeting people and ministering to them.

“He’s always been the same,” Tom said, and enjoys serving God and his people.

“Indiana is a great state,” he said. “We’re glad that Joe is here now.”

Gerarda Tobin of St. Clair Shores, Mich., and the ninth sibling, said “Joe has always been such a great leader for all of us” through the years.

“I pray that he has the strength and help to continue the incredible job that he has done literally around the world and in many places that most people don’t go,” Gerarda said. “He’s a true man of faith and a true leader that will lead this [Catholic] community and bring this community together to where it should be.

“Joe is a true inspiration, particularly to the younger community,” she said. “With 12 younger brothers and sisters, he’s always been very much a part of our lives and a part of our children’s lives. I think that that will be a great asset to this community. We’re Midwesterners, too.”

Sara Broderick of Stoney Pointe, Ontario, Canada, and the youngest of the 13 siblings, said her oldest brother’s installation liturgy was “so touching” and “absolutely beautiful.”

Like her siblings, Sara said that during the Mass she prayed that “God will give Joe the strength to carry out what it is that he has called him to do.

“We’re so proud of him,” she said, “and we know that wherever he has gone [on ministry assignments throughout the world] he has done God’s work.”

The Tobin children felt especially close to their father today during the Mass, Sara said. “We know Dad is always with us, but it’s such a reminder. I know Dad is smiling down on Joe and the whole family with such pride. Our parents laid a strong foundation [for us] with their faith. They were always so faith-filled. My mother passed that [devotion] along to us, and we’re so grateful to have her as the head of the family.”

The Tobin family was pleased to see so many seminarians participating in the installation Mass, Sara said, which is a tribute to Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein’s spiritual leadership of the archdiocese during the past two decades.

“We’re just amazed at the number of seminarians,” she said. “It just gives us such great hope for the future of our Catholic Church.”

Matt and Sara Broderick’s teenage daughter, Nora, was excited to see her uncle again.

“I thought that [his new ministry assignment] is so amazing for him,” Nora said. “Our whole family is based on our faith. I know he will do a great job. It will be so great that he will be so close, and we will get to see him more often.” †

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