November 11, 2016

Editorial

Cardinal-designate Tobin, thanks for your faith-filled leadership

“I remember how you welcomed me, offered me support in so many ways, forgave my mistakes and limitations and always assured me of your love and the precious backing of your prayer. The thought of leaving you devastated me. I have had many sleepness nights and shed more than a few tears.”
—Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin in his letter dated Nov. 7 to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis announcing his appointment as shepherd of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.

Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin shares a laugh during his comments at the Miter Society Reception at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis on Oct. 18. On Nov. 7, he was named to lead the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. (Criterion photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin shares a laugh during his comments at the Miter Society Reception at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis on Oct. 18. On Nov. 7, he was named to lead the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. (Criterion photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Like many of you, we are still trying to digest the stunning news that our shepherd, Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin, has been appointed to lead the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.

To say we are shocked and saddened only begins to describe the way we feel as we prepare to say goodbye to Cardinal-designate Tobin, who will be installed in Newark on Jan. 6, 2017.

In October of 2012, we were introduced to then-Archbishop Tobin, whose previous appointment was at the Vatican, where he served as secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In that position, he was second in charge of the Vatican dicastery that helps oversee the life and ministry of more than 1 million religious women and men.

He arrived eager to serve the people of central and southern Indiana with a shepherd’s heart, and he has indeed done that and so much more—while spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a ministry that included a love of family, humor and grace-filled faith.

He has followed Pope Francis’ lead to reach out to his flock, and has ministered in all corners of our archdiocese.

His mission here included answering a question he posed to us after his arrival: “Where is the Holy Spirit calling us to open doors in our archdiocese?” and the response that was developed. Cardinal-designate Tobin asked the local Church to focus on six areas: evangelizing the young Church; strengthening marriage and family life; welcoming immigrants; visiting those in prison; moving beyond our “comfort zones” in order to develop a global perspective on world affairs and on the evangelizing mission of our Church; and encouraging parishes to help other parishes eliminate debt as a sign of unity and solidarity.

What resulted, thanks to Cardinal-designate Tobin’s leadership, was a Church that took to heart Pope Francis’ message for all baptized Christians to embrace the Lord’s call to be “missionary disciples” and “spirit-filled evangelizers.” 

There were challenges, too. The Connected in the Spirit process comes to mind, where tough decisions were made about the future of parishes throughout central and southern Indiana. There was also his conversation last fall with

Gov. Mike Pence about the resettling of a Syrian refugee family to Indiana. The governor in November of 2015 said that he would prevent refugees from settling in Indiana until the federal government could ensure proper security measures were in place. The cardinal-designate was asked by the governor not to permit resettlement.

Cardinal-designate Tobin said the governor invited him to “pray and seek God’s guidance, which I gladly did.” The family was welcomed by the archdiocese’s Refugee and Immigrant Services, and is now living in Indianapolis.

As we approach Thanksgiving, many of us will spend time with family and friends and reflect on how God has blessed our lives and our families. This year, it also seems like an appropriate time to thank Cardinal-designate Tobin for his years of service and leadership in central and southern Indiana, and thank God for the blessings he has given us through his witness and leadership.

We encourage everyone to mark Dec. 3 on their calendars. At 11 a.m. that day, there will be a Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis, for all the faithful to wish Cardinal-designate Tobin well as he leaves us and prepares to begin the next chapter in his ministry on the East Coast.

We expect many hugs, handshakes and even some tears, but even if you can’t make it, we ask you to remember Cardinal-designate Tobin in your prayers.

You can rest assured we will always be in his.

—Mike Krokos


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