November 18, 2016

Cardinal-designate Tobin celebrates Mass at college seminary

Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin laughs while making closing remarks during a Nov. 9 Mass at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. Assisting at the Mass as an altar server is Eric Gehlhausen, right, a seminarian of the Diocese of Evansville, who is a junior at Bishop Bruté. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin laughs while making closing remarks during a Nov. 9 Mass at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. Assisting at the Mass as an altar server is Eric Gehlhausen, right, a seminarian of the Diocese of Evansville, who is a junior at Bishop Bruté. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

On Oct. 18, 2012, Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin was introduced as the new shepherd of the Church in central and southern Indiana.

He began that day four years ago by celebrating Mass with the seminarians of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis.

Four years later, two days after he was introduced as the new archbishop of Newark, N.J., Cardinal-designate Tobin returned to Bishop Bruté to celebrate Mass with the seminarians again, perhaps for the last time before he is installed as the shepherd of the Church in northern New Jersey on Jan. 6, 2017.

In remarks at the end of the early morning liturgy, he noted that he was “waxing nostalgic” during his drive to the seminary, recalling the Mass he celebrated there four years ago.

“I thought it was appropriate, after these tumultuous changes, to come back and celebrate with you,” Cardinal-designate Tobin said. “The only way that I can make sense of this, and of some of the things that have happened to me and to the archdiocese as well … is that it is God’s will.”

To illustrate this, he related a story of a meeting he had last summer at the Vatican with Pope Francis. The pontiff, he explained, had said to him a couple of times in that conversation that he didn’t know why he had been elected pope in 2013.

“But then he looked at me in the eyes and said, ‘Because I wasn’t looking for this, I believe it’s God’s will. And because it’s God’s will, I’ll have what I need,’ ” Cardinal-designate Tobin said. “And I say that to all of you, especially when things happen that you don’t quite understand. If God’s called you here, you’ll have what you need.”

Seminarian Eamonn Daily is leaning on what God provides at this time of transition for the archdiocese. A senior at Bruté, he became an archdiocesan seminarian not long after Cardinal-designate Tobin was appointed to lead the Church in central and southern Indiana.

He said after the Nov. 9 Mass that learning of Cardinal-designate Tobin’s appointment to Newark was difficult for him.

“It was tough for me to hear that,” said Daily, a member of St. Lawrence Parish in Lawrenceburg. “I’ll really miss him. He’s always been caring about me and my family. He always asks about my mom and my dad and my brother and my sisters. I almost feel like he’s part of the family.”

And like family, he and his parents will travel to the Vatican to show their support for Cardinal-designate Tobin as he becomes a member of the College of Cardinals on Nov. 19 at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Daily will also seek to follow Cardinal-designate Tobin’s example here after he has moved on to Newark.

“Everything that I’m dealing with—school and formation here—it must be God’s will that I’m here,” he said. “Having Archbishop Tobin set a good example for that is the biggest thing.”

Father Joseph Moriarty, Bishop Bruté’s rector, shared in Daily’s sadness at losing his spiritual father—and also his desire to embrace the will of God in this transition.

“Our hearts are heavy. We love him, and he loves us,” Father Moriarty said. “Through the grace of God, we received him, and we trust that God will continue to bless us if we continue to hope in God’s will.”

He noted that Cardinal-designate Tobin’s presence at the seminary over the years has benefitted its growing community of seminarians, who are affiliated with 10 dioceses and one religious community spread across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Father Moriarty said that Cardinal-designate Tobin’s ties to the Vatican, and Pope Francis in particular, gave the seminarians an appreciation for the universality of the Church.

“Obviously, there’s a universal sense of the Church, but his presence makes that sense very local and relatable,” he said. “I think they’re grateful for that.”

Father Moriarty said the seminarians also have been supported in their priestly formation by Cardinal-designate Tobin’s attentive preaching.

“Every time he comes here, he’s always had a thoughtful, affirming and supportive message for those who believe that they’ve been called to the priesthood,” he said. “I think it renews their vocational call every time he comes.”
 

(For more information on Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, visit www.archindy.org/bsb.)

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