New bishop installed for Providence, calls for hope and trust in Church

The new bishop of Providence had a message of hope for the faithful who packed the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul for his installation Tuesday.

"If our faith is strong, then hope must prevail," said Bishop Thomas Tobin in his homily, in which he also spoke of the sanctity of human life, marriage and the media.

The Providence Journal reported that the bishop cited St. Augustine, who 1,600 years ago spoke of the resilience of the Church in the face of scandal and difficulties, and said: “People look upon the Church and say, 'She is about to die. Soon her very name will disappear. There will be no more Christians; they have had their day.' "

Bishop Tobin referred indirectly to the sexual abuse scandal in his homily, saying: "If we focus on the failures of members of the church and the problems we face -- failures and problems that are real nonetheless -- it's easy to become tired and discouraged."

He spoke of Christian values and the importance of professing and living "an unconditional commitment to the sanctity of human life, from the moment of conception till the time of natural death."

The bishop also affirmed the "nonnegotiable belief in Holy Matrimony as designed by God and blessed by Jesus -- a union of one man and one woman joined together in a lifetime commitment of life and love."

He spoke of the need and desire to promote common decency in entertainment, art and culture; and a commitment and concern for the poor and the marginalized.

Bishop Tobin had been the bishop of Youngstown, Ohio, for nine years and had served as auxiliary bishop in Pittsburgh before that. In March, Pope John Paul II named him the eighth bishop of Providence, succeeding the retiring Bishop Robert E. Mulvee.

More than 300 deacons and priests, and 36 bishops were present, as well as leaders from other faiths, and most of the state's top political leaders. An orchestra played as an 80-voice choir sang God’s praises, and even a new song specifically composed for the bishop's installation, by cathedral rector Fr. Anthony Mancini.

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