July 5, 2013

Archdiocan Pallium Pilgrimage Blog

Archbishop Tobin receives pallium from Pope Francis

Pope Francis greets Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis after presenting him with a pallium during Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on June 29. The pope presented woolen palliums to 34 archbishops during the liturgy. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

Pope Francis greets Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis after presenting him with a pallium during Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on June 29. The pope presented woolen palliums to 34 archbishops during the liturgy. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

By John Shaughnessy

VATICAN CITY—Bright light shone through a stained-glass window behind the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica that portrayed the Holy Spirit as a dove at the moment that Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin knelt before Pope Francis on June 29 to receive his pallium.

Flashing a warm smile, the pope placed the pallium—a circular band made from lamb’s wool—around the shoulders of Archbishop Tobin.

In that special moment, which manifested his role as the shepherd of the archdiocese and his communion with the pope, Archbishop Tobin listened as the pope told him, “May the cross bear good fruit.”

In response, the archbishop said, “You can count on us.”

The warm exchange between the pope and the archbishop occurred in Spanish, the language that first connected the two men when they served together as part of a Spanish-speaking discussion group at the Synod of Bishops in 2005.

In fact, before the pallium Mass, Pope Francis greeted Archbishop Tobin, and their conversation soon turned to a comment that Archbishop Tobin had long ago shared during the synod—a comment in which Archbishop Tobin told then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio that his mother wanted him elected as pope in 2005 because of his simplicity and his care for people.

“He said, ‘I’ve been praying intensely for you, and I hope your mother is praying for me,’ ” Archbishop Tobin recalled after the pallium Mass.

The archbishop shared his exchange with the pope during an interview at a reception at the Pontifical North American College in Rome following the pallium Mass. As part of the Mass, 34 archbishops from 19 countries, including three other archbishops from the United States, received their palliums from Pope Francis.

Noting that he was a “little dazed” from the events of the morning, Archbishop Tobin said he drew strength from thinking about the life of St. Peter.

“I was thinking of Peter, who was buried there [under St. Peter’s Basilica], and whose feast day we were celebrating today. He was someone who could speak easily and whose deeds didn’t always measure up.” The archbishop then made a reference to St. Peter leaving a boat to walk to Jesus in a stormy sea, losing faith momentarily and sinking before Jesus reached out to save him.

“I feel at times that I’m out of the boat,” Archbishop Tobin noted. “But if I’m fixed on Christ, I can do it.”

Archbishop Tobin also drew strength from the wealth of support that he received at St. Peter’s Basilica, which overflowed with people from around the world, including family members, friends, a group from Marian University in Indianapolis, and the 80 pilgrims from the archdiocese who made a pilgrimage to Rome with him.

“Part of the prayer is ‘the yoke is easy, and the burden is light’ ” (Mt 11:30), the archbishop said. “The yoke is easy knowing I’m where I’m meant to be—with the Church in central and southern Indiana.” †

 

(See photos and updates from the trip on our blog)

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