July 28, 2017

Indiana, Kentucky bishops praise leadership of Archbishop Thompson

At 56, Archbishop Charles C. Thompson is currently the youngest archbishop in the United States.

His relative youth, though, doesn’t keep other bishops from praising his pastoral leadership of the Evansville, Ind., Diocese since 2011 and expressing high hopes for his ministry for the Church in central and southern Indiana.

“The appointment of Bishop Thompson to the Metropolitan See of Indianapolis is a great blessing and cause for rejoicing for the archdiocese,” said Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein of Indianapolis, who has had a close relationship with Archbishop Thompson for many years.

Archbishop Buechlein, who lives in retirement in the infirmary of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, has been impressed by the leadership his friend has exhibited in the Church in southwestern Indiana.

“In Evansville, he has shown the ability to deal ably and well with tough issues,” Archbishop Buechlein said. “He shepherded the people and clergy through the hard project of consolidating and reorganizing parishes and assigning pastors to care for these parishioners. I know him to be a man of solid principle, much appreciated for his kindness and his gentle good humor.”

Archbishop Buechlein said that these aspects of his friend’s personality are part of his “Louisville charm and graciousness.” Archbishop Thompson was ordained a priest of the Louisville, Ky., Archdiocese in 1987.

Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz appointed him his vicar general in 2008, a position in which Archbishop Thompson served until being appointed in 2011 to lead the Evansville Diocese.

“He was humble,” said Archbishop Kurtz of his former vicar general. “There was not a lot of ego in his work.

“He was extremely organized, and was able to not only be pastor of a rather large and complex parish, but also take on the role of vicar general at the same time. He was collaborative and approachable.”

Archbishop Kurtz’s reaction to learning about Archbishop Thompson’s appointment to lead the Church in central and southern Indiana was the same as when he heard of his appointment to the Diocese of Evansville.

“I was thrilled and delighted,” Archbishop Kurtz said. “I thought how blessed that local Church was to receive him as a bishop.”

The Louisville shepherd said the faithful here will have an archbishop who will show them much pastoral care and concern.

“They can expect someone who will be a loving shepherd, who will want to come and know and listen to the priests and all the faithful of the archdiocese,” Archbishop Kurtz said. “I think they can expect someone who is very organized and will look to promote ministries in order to continue this work of seeking disciples who are missionaries.”

When Archbishop Thompson was ordained a bishop in 2011, he succeeded Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger as the shepherd of the Evansville Diocese.

Originally a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Bishop Gettelfinger praised Archbishop Thompson for his open mind and heart.

“He is his own man, but he certainly carries with him what he’s learned from others,” Bishop Gettelfinger said. “He’s a learner, is not afraid to learn and is not afraid to teach as well.

“He’s a listener. He listens. And then he’s not afraid to move after he gets his information.” †

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