February 26, 2016

Archbishop Tobin is named ‘Indy’s 2016 Irish Citizen of the Year’

By John Shaughnessy

Archbishop Joseph W. TobinArchbishop Joseph W. Tobin has always celebrated the gifts of faith and family that he was given by his Irish parents.

Now, the archbishop is being celebrated as “Indy’s 2016 Irish Citizen of the Year.”

As part of the honor, the archbishop will serve as the grand marshal for the Indy Sports Foundation’s 36th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade starting at 11:30 a.m. on March 17 in downtown Indianapolis.

In his official duties as Irish Citizen of the Year, the archbishop will also turn the downtown canal green as he adds dye to the waterway at 5 p.m. on March 16—the official start of St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Indianapolis. And he will serve as the official starter of the Shamrock Run & Walk in Indianapolis on March 19.

For Archbishop Tobin, the fun events will be preceded by the most meaningful tradition that he marks during that week. As part of the annual St. Patrick’s Celebration by the Indianapolis chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the archbishop will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. on March 13 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis.

Celebrating the Mass will once again return the archbishop to his Irish roots of faith and family.

“As years go on, I become much more aware and more grateful for the gift of one’s family, beginning with my parents,” the archbishop has noted previously. “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.” †

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