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Vatican's deputy official for religious to lead Indianapolis archdiocese
Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin
Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin

.- Pope Benedict named Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin as head of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on Oct. 18.

“Archbishop Tobin's ministry as our new ordinary will certainly be able to build on the strong foundation laid by his predecessor, Archbishop Buechlein,” said Indianapolis' apostolic administrator, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, at a press conference this morning at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral.
 
Archbishop Tobin is taking over leadership of the Indianapolis archdiocese from Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, who resigned Sept. 21, 2011 at the age of 73 after numerous health problems.

Since Archbishop Buechlein's resignation, Auxiliary Bishop Coyne has served as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese.

At an Oct. 18 press conference presenting Archbishop Tobin to the Indianapolis archdiocese, he introduced himself by first emphasizing his baptism into Christ and saying that it must affect “the way we live … we have to offer something before the world.”

“On that day I was given the gift of faith. And I think it is interesting that I was given this new mission at the beginning of a year in which the Catholic Church is going to be considering what it means to believe,” Archbishop Tobin said.

One definition of faith that “means a lot to me is 'the capacity to be surprised by God,'” he added.

“I was quite surprised three weeks ago when I was told the Holy Father wished me to serve in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. … Together we accept this mission and in the eyes of faith, we allow God to surprise us, because we know that God is faithful.”
 
Archbishop Tobin noted particularly the importance of family in his own life and in his vision for the archdiocese. He mentioned that his own father, “a man in every sense of the word,” and whom the archbishop wanted to be like because of his faith, passed away at the age of 54 leaving his wife with 13 children.

The archbishop hopes “the ministry of the Church in central and southern Indiana will have a special place in its heart for families; and not simply the nice, easy-going families, but the families who struggle, families like my family, with a single mother who with the help of her husband in heaven had to raise 13 of us.”

He finished his remarks by recalling how Elisha succeeded Elijah as Israel's great prophet. In the story, Elisha was given a mantle as a symbol of prophecy.

After explaining this, Archbishop Tobin put on an Indianapolis Colts scarf that was given to him earlier that day by Archbishop Buechlein, saying he “accepts it gratefully.”

The Detroit-born Archbishop Tobin was ordained a priest for the Redemptorist Fathers in 1978.

He served in American parishes until 1991, when he was given a position in Rome with the order. He was superior general of the order from 1997 until 2009.

Since Aug. 2010, Archbishop Tobin has been secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the dicastery which oversees men and women religious.

Archbishop Tobin speaks several languages, including Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese.

He will be installed as Archbishop of Indianapolis on December 3 – the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, a patron saint of the archdiocese – at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis serves nearly 228,000 Catholics in 147 parishes in central and southern Indiana.

Updated on Oct. 18, 2012 at 3:20 p.m. MST. Includes quotes from Bishop Coyne and remarks from Archbishop Tobin throughout.

Tags: Bishop Appointment, Pope Benedict


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