On Sunday, Pope Francis announced the creation of seventeen new cardinals, including three from the United States. Many were surprised by the name of one of the new American cardinals, Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has never been led by a cardinal before, but Archbishop Tobin's varied resumé helps to explain his appointment: having pastored inner-city parishes in Chicago and Detroit and having served in Rome as superior general of the Redemptorists and as archbishop-secretary of the Congregation for Religious before leading the Church in Indianapolis, the Cardinal-designate has a background that enables him to balance a global perspective with attention to local concerns. (I'm also happy to note that this global perspective includes an appreciation for the importance of relationships between Eastern and Western Christians: Archbishop Tobin has spent several years as co-chair of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, and I'm told that he has performed very well in that role.)
I've written here about Archbishop Tobin's elevation to the College of Cardinals because we share a sort of personal connection. We've only met once, but the occasion of that meeting was unique - as some will recall, Archbishop Tobin ordained me to the priesthood. Archbishop Tobin performed his duties as ordaining prelate with great grace and dignity, and his words of exhortation to the ordinandi were thoughtful and consoling. I'm sharing this video of the Archbishop's homily at my ordination Mass to give some sense of his personality as well as to preserve a record of his words on that occasion. As Cardinal-designate Tobin prepares for next month's consistory, I pray that he may receive abundant consolation as well as the courage and strength he will need as he assumes his new office. I pray also for the faithful of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, as their shepherd takes on a position of greater responsibility and visibility within the universal Church. Ad multos annos!