A Vatican announcement made it official early on Monday: Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin has been named the sixth Archbishop of Newark.
As neighbors across the Hudson, we want to extend a warm welcome and many prayers as he begins his new ministry in New Jersey, succeeding the retiring Archbishop John J. Myers.
We wish Archbishop Myers the best too, as he begins this new phase of his life and ministry.
Word has it that the 64-year-old Cardinal-designate Tobin has an open, engaging style—traits that endeared him to his flock in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, where he has served as archbishop since 2012.
That openness is certainly a plus as he begins his new ministry, given the contrasts between the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, with its 244,000 Catholics and middle-America vibe, and the Archdiocese of Newark, which counts 1.5 million Catholics within its gritty East Coast-urban borders.
Cardinal-designate Tobin will be installed Jan. 6 at a Mass in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
In a statement this week on his new appointment, he said that one of his favorite descriptions “of the experience of faith is ‘a willingness to be surprised by God.’”
By that standard, he said, these last weeks have been exceptionally “faith-filled.”
The first surprise, of course, was the announcement last month that he was one of 17 new cardinals named by Pope Francis—something completely unexpected for a medium-sized see that had never before had a cardinal at its helm.
Then came the news, announced Nov. 7 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, that the pope named him Archbishop of Newark—another archdiocese that had never before been led by a cardinal.
A native of Detroit, the cardinal-designate is the oldest of 13 children. He is a member of the Redemptorist order, whose priests and religious serve in the Archdiocese of New York at Most Holy Redeemer and Nativity parish in Manhattan’s East Village and Immaculate Conception parish in the South Bronx.
He also is a former archbishop-secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. As secretary, he was credited with helping change the tone of a Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation of U.S. women’s religious communities from an investigation into a dialogue.
That certainly indicates an ability to bring about consensus in a challenging situation. We’re sure he will come across his share of challenging situations in his new role as Newark’s archbishop, and we’re just as sure he’ll come across many joyous and inspiring situations, too.
We’re confident he’ll handle whatever comes his way, joining our own Cardinal Dolan, who said Pope Francis “has chosen wisely and well.”
Cardinal Dolan, who was a neighbor of the cardinal-delegate from their days serving together in Rome, said he looks forward to becoming a neighbor again. He said Cardinal-delegate Tobin “has shown himself to be a man of great faith and pastoral sensitivity, who will serve the people of Newark with fidelity and love.”
Newark’s Catholics could not ask for more.