Redemptorist Fr. Joseph William Tobin was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the new secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on Monday.
He follows Archbishop Gianfranco Agostino Gardin of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in the position. The Vatican congregation for religious is headed by prefect Cardinal Franc Rode of the St. Vincent de Paul-founded Congregation of the Mission.
According to a brief biography released by the Holy See, the Detroit-born Fr. Tobin was ordained a priest in 1978 after having received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Holy Redeemer College in Wisconsin and a Master of Religious Education from New York's Mount St. Alphonsus Major Seminary. Following his ordination, he earned a Master of Divinity in 1979 from the same institution.
For the next decade, he served in a parish in Detroit while also working as the episcopal vicar for the archdiocese from 1980-86.
In 1991, he was elected the general consultor of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, known as the Redemptorist Fathers, and then, in 1997, became the order's superior general. He held the position until Nov. 2009.
As superior general, he was a member of the Union of Superior Generals, for which he served as the vice president. His post as head of his order also resulted in Fr. Tobin being named as a member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, where he was appointed as secretary on Monday.
This Vatican dicastery oversees the government, discipline, studies, goods, rights and privileges of both men's and women's institutes of consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, monks, consecrated virgins and their related associations and new forms of consecrated life.