Thursday, December 1, 2016

Farewell to Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin

Click on the image above to see the full contents of our 60-page special edition of The Criterion.

Thanks again to all who followed this blog; this will be our last post, but the whole site will remain up for you to browse through any time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Special edition of The Criterion

The staff of The Criterion has been busy working the last couple of weeks, including the Thanksgiving holiday, on a special edition of the newspaper to thank Cardinal Tobin for his service to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and to recall the time he spent here.

At 60 pages, it will be the largest issue of the newspaper we've ever produced. Check back here in the coming days for links to all of it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Round-up of posts

For those who haven't followed this blog live over the weekend of November, here are links to some of our more popular posts and photo galleries (from most recent to oldest):

Cardinal Tobin will say ‘thank you’ and ‘farewell’ with Dec. 3 Mass, reception

By John Shaughnessy (Assistant Editor, The Criterion)

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin will share his gratitude with the people of the archdiocese on Dec. 3, beginning with a Mass at 11 a.m. in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis.
The Mass—and the reception that follows it—will also serve as an opportunity for him to say farewell to the Church in central and southern Indiana he has served and grown to love since his installation as its shepherd on Dec. 3, 2012. The date is also the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, principal patron of the archdiocese.
On Nov. 7, Cardinal Tobin shared the news that Pope Francis had reassigned him to become the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.
That news came less than a month after Pope Francis had named him as one of 17 new cardinals on Oct. 9.
Because Cardinal Tobin’s reassignment to Newark came before he was installed as a cardinal by Pope Francis on Nov. 19 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has no official or historical claim to him as a cardinal. But the spiritual and emotional bond between Cardinal Tobin and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has become deep in the four years he has served as the spiritual leader of the Church in central and southern Indiana.
“What four years has done for me is that this wonderful Catholic community spread across 39 counties has gone from ‘the archdiocese’ to ‘my people,’ ” Cardinal Tobin said on Oct. 10, the day after Pope Francis announced him as a new cardinal. “They have a claim on me, and I have a claim on them.”
Cardinal Tobin plans to celebrate that mutual bond and deep connection on Dec. 3. After the Mass, a reception and a receiving line with the cardinal will follow in the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center across the street from the cathedral. The Mass and the reception are both open to the public.
No tickets or reservations are required for people to attend the Mass and/or the reception, which is being sponsored by Franciscan Health.

The Mass will be live-streamed at †

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Preview the front page of our upcoming November 25 issue

Click the image below for a larger version:

On their way home

Our staff and other Catholics from central and southern Indiana are making their way home. A big thank you to John Shaugnessy and Greg Otolski for their hard work throughout the past week. They lost a lot of sleep to send back news stories and photos from all the events in Rome as they happened.

Be sure to check back here from time to time in the coming week for additional updates, including links to our Criterion news coverage. And mark your calendar for our December 2 issue: a 60-page farewell to Cardinal Tobin that will include stories, loads of photographs, infographics and the well-wishes of many advertisers.

John Shaughnessy, assistant editor of The Criterion, working hard
during the closing Mass of the Holy Year of Mercy in St. Peter's Square.

Greg Otolski, executive director of communications, sharing a moment
of conversation with Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Some great photos from L'Osservatore Romano

In his waning time in Rome, our executive director Greg Otolski sent a few pictures from the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. Enjoy!

(C) L'Osservatore Romano

(C) L'Osservatore Romano

(C) L'Osservatore Romano

Cardinal Tobin's first homily

By John Shaughnessy (Assistant Editor, The Criterion)
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin chose a place in his heart to share his first homily as a cardinal—the Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori in Rome. (Click here to see photos from the Mass)

The church is named for the founder of the Redemptorist order—the order in which Cardinal Tobin was ordained a priest in 1978. It’s also the home church of the general headquarters of the Redemptorists—the place that was his home when he served as the superior general of his order from 1997 to 2009.

The Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori is also meaningful to him because it’s the home of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and the Blessed Mother has always been a major influence in his life.

In the beautiful, small church packed with people for Sunday evening Mass on Nov. 20, Cardinal Tobin delivered his homily first in Italian and then in English, accommodating Catholics from the local community, members of the Redemptorist order, and his friends and family from the United States, including a huge contingent from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

For his homily, Cardinal Tobin drew upon the experience of the outdoor morning Mass of Nov. 20 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. During that Mass, Pope Francis closed the Holy Doors of Mercy at St. Peter’s Basilica, symbolically closing the Church’s Holy Year of Mercy around the world.

Here is the essence of his first homily as a cardinal:

“I think for most of us perhaps, at least the question crossed our mind, ‘What does it mean to close the Door of Mercy?’ Is it possible that mercy is now beyond our reach? Perhaps that’s why our Holy Father chose to close the Year of Mercy today, on the feast of Christ the King—because the feast reminds us of the story of the King who dies from love.

“People make fun of it. They say, ‘What sort of God would allow his Messiah to die the way Jesus died?’ But he dies with his arms open, nails in, to remind us that there are some things more important than life. And one of those things, perhaps the only thing more important than life itself, is love. The true grace of God that we see in Jesus crucified is a clear sign that mercy was not ended.

“The words of Jesus to that dying thief, who simply wanted to be remembered when Jesus entered his kingdom, should give all of us hope: ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’ Today—because love is always in a hurry. Love always wants to go where it should go—to the beloved. To be with me. I want you in paradise.

“And so we close a door today, but we recognize a King. And our mother Mary, who is given to us as the mother who is always ready to help us, presents us the reason for our hope. Those elongated figures of hers in the icon point to Jesus, the only savior in the world, the more simple face of God.”

Marie Tobin: "I would go anywhere in the world to be where my children are"

By John Shaughnessy (Assistant Editor, The Criterion)

ROME—On the morning when the oldest of her 13 children became a cardinal of the Church, Marie Tobin started her day with a simple prayer.

“I woke up this morning saying, ‘This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad.’ ”

At 93, Mrs. Tobin had two main reasons to rejoice as she waited for the start of a memorable ceremony on Nov. 19 in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Within an hour, her son “Joe” would be installed as one of 17 new cardinals by Pope Francis. And just as meaningful to her, she was surrounded by so many members of her family who had traveled to Rome to do what she says the Tobin clan does best—be there for each other.

“I would go anywhere in the world to be where my children are,” she said. “And if they think it’s going to be fun, we’re all there.”

On this day, all but one of her children—he had a scheduled surgery—was there to witness the installation of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin. Their mother never imagined that scene or that possibility all those years ago when she and her late husband Joe were married. Back then, their goals were to create a large family, a family based on faith and love.

“I was a teacher,” she recalled as she sat mere feet from where her son’s red biretta—one of the symbols of being a cardinal—rested on a gold plate, waiting for the moment when Pope Francis would place it on her son’s head. “I wanted a whole roomful of kids. And he loved kids, too.”

John Shaughnessy, assistant editor, interviewing Marie Tobin.
They named their first son Joseph, a boy who was a gift from the beginning, she said.

“He’s been loving since day one. He’s so proud of his brothers and sisters. When each of them started parochial school, he escorted them to meet their teachers. And even though he was far away, he knew everything about their report cards. He was the leader, and he’s still the leader.”

It’s a role he learned from his father, who died at the age of 54 of a heart attack he suffered after helping people stranded in a blizzard.

“He’s here,” she said about her husband. “He’s residing in heaven. He’s looking down on us every day. He’s been taking care of us for 40 years since he’s been in heaven. I never felt I was raising the kids alone.

“He’s been with his oldest son all the time. An old Redemptorist priest told me when he died, ‘One of you had to be in heaven because your kids will be all over the world someday.’ And that’s been true. Their work has taken them all over.”

On this day, her oldest son’s life has led her to Rome and St. Peter’s—a trip she wasn’t going to miss.

“It’s really brave of her at 93 to cross an ocean,” said her oldest child on the evening before he became a cardinal. “Mom always appreciates the times when the whole family is together. And it can be anywhere. I think this is a big deal because she’s a woman of faith. She sees this in the larger picture of her own engagement with God and the Church.

“She’s really kind of dazzled by the whole thing because she loves the people I serve in Indiana, and she loves the Redemptorists who are my brothers.”

Perhaps the most touching displays of love on this morning started inside St. Peter’s before the ceremony—as Cardinal-to-be Tobin waited anxiously for his mother to arrive, followed by how he embraced and kissed her when he found she was there.

Then came the moment when she watched her son walk up the steps to the central altar where Pope Francis waited to give him his cardinal’s ring and place his red biretta on his head.

“Oh, my heaven!’ she said later, in recalling that moment. “It’s totally unbelievable.”

That feeling of joy led her to think of her husband again.

“I married the most wonderful man. All I can say is, ‘Thank you, thank you.’ God is very good to me.”

Cardinal Tobin's Titular Church

Each cardinal in the Catholic Church is considered to be a part of the clergy of the Diocese of Rome, and as such they receive a title to a parish church. While that church still has a normal pastor and administration, it now has a special relationship with it's cardinal.

Cardinal Tobin's titular church is Santa Maria delle Grazie al Trionfale (read more about it here). While it doesn't look like he'll have a chance to celebrate Mass during his current time in Rome, Dan Conway generously provided some photos from the church, as seen below. Conway is a member of the editorial board of The Criterion.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Photo Gallery: Mass in St. Alphonsus Church in Rome

On the evening of November 20, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin celebrated Mass at the Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome. Click on the image below to see a photo gallery of the event taken by Greg Otolski:

Click here to see the photo gallery

First impressions and lasting memories

By John Shaughnessy (Assistant Editor, The Criterion)

The stories have flowed easily.

Some melt your heart. Others bring a smile or a laugh. All share an insight into the qualities that make Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin respected and loved by many people.

As friends and family members have traveled to Rome this weekend to witness him be installed as a cardinal by Pope Francis on Nov. 19, here are some of the memorable stories that were shared about Cardinal Tobin.

An unexpected song of joy

The smile keeps growing across Carolyn Noone’s face as she recalls the remarkable moment from the evening of Dec. 3, 2012—when Cardinal Tobin was installed as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

As director of special events for the archdiocese, Noone had arranged a dinner for the archbishop, his family and some of his friends at a downtown Indianapolis hotel. So Noone and Annette “Mickey” Lentz, chancellor of the archdiocese, went to the hotel to make sure the dinner was enjoyed by everyone.

“After dinner, most of the family went into the foyer,” Noone recalls. “There was a grand piano there. His sister, Ann, went back into the banquet hall and said, ‘Joe, you have to come out to the foyer right now!’ He said, ‘I always do what my sisters tell me to do.’ Then he sat down at the piano and began to play.

“They were spiritual songs. Mickey and I were looking at each other and said how beautiful it was. Then he stopped, he got a twinkle in his eyes, and he started playing ‘Great Balls of Fire.’ He sang every word. Mickey and I said, ‘We have a winner.’ ”

Noone paused as her smile gave way to her emotions. “He put a lifetime into four years with us.”

A position of service

Holy Cross Father Joseph Corpora became friends with Cardinal Tobin “a few summers ago” at the University of Notre Dame for an event involving the college’s Alliance for Catholic Education program.

“I had the good fortune of being his host,” Father Corpora notes. “One evening we sat and talked for about two hours. Since then, we’ve had several lengthy conversations. On two occasions, he and I went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant in Indianapolis. He made a point of talking personally with the waiters and the staff. In everything that he says and does, he is very human. His very person invites confidence and trust.

“He has taught me that power does not have to go to one’s head, as obviously it has not in his case. He truly sees his position as one of service. He gives me great hope for the life and future of the Church.”

A moving story

Msgr. William Stumpf recalls a conversation he had with Cardinal Tobin shortly after it was announced on Nov. 7 that Pope Francis had reassigned him from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to the Archdiocese of Newark.

“I said, ‘We’ll get you moved out to Newark.’ He said, ‘That’s so kind of you. I was thinking I’d probably just rent a U-Haul and take it out there.’ I said, ‘We’ll get you moved.’

“It just shows his absolute humility. He’s a true servant, just like Pope Francis.”

First impression, lasting memory

First impressions often last, and Loral Tansy will never forget the first impression that Cardinal Tobin had on him. The moment occurred during the first Mass that Cardinal Tobin celebrated in one of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis after he became the archbishop.

In his role as master of ceremonies, Tansy is responsible for making sure the Mass runs smoothly when the archbishop celebrates the liturgy. So he was intent on getting the Mass started right as he and the archbishop processed up the main aisle. Yet halfway up the aisle, something happened that changed Tansy’s plan.

“There was a handicapped boy in a wheelchair midway up the aisle,” Tansy recalls. “As the archbishop started to go by, the child raised his hand, and the archbishop took his hand. The child started talking to him. The archbishop got down on one knee and carried out this conversation with him.

“In that moment, I knew how blessed we were to have him, and how much I was going to love him.”

The family of Cardinal Tobin

By John Shaughnessy (Assistant Editor, The Criterion)

If there’s one thing a brother in an Irish family learns quickly, it’s that a conversation with one of his sisters will often lead to some interesting and unexpected situations.

As proof, consider a conversation that Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin had with one of his sisters, Ann Levigne, earlier this fall—before Pope Francis announced on Oct. 9 that he would be one of 17 new cardinals for the Church.

“About two months ago, we were talking about Rome,” Ann says with a smile. “And I said, ‘Can you do something remotely notable so we can go back to Rome?’ ”

After a laugh, she added, “We’re certainly happy for Joe, but we’re happier for our Church. It’s bittersweet knowing he will hate to leave Indianapolis, but it’s great that we’re sharing this as a family, including his family from Indianapolis and his family in Rome.”

The reality for Cardinal Tobin is that his understanding of family extends far beyond his 93-year-old mother, his sisters, his brothers, his nieces, nephews and other relatives—a huge contingent that came to Rome to support him as he was installed as a cardinal by Pope Francis on Nov. 19 in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

For Cardinal Tobin, his extended family also includes his friends who share his priesthood in the Redemptorist order. And the reality for everyone who has longtime friends is that these friends will often add a touch of humor to their serious thoughts of joy and affection for you.

So it is with Redemptorist Father John Steingraeber, who has known Cardinal Tobin since 1966, a time that has included the 12 years that Cardinal Tobin served as superior general of their order founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

“Joe was a freshman when I was a senior in high school seminary,” Father John says. “As one of his classmates once said about Joe, ‘I’ve thought many things of you over the years, but never as the successor of St. Alphonsus.’ ”

Turning serious, Father John said, “He’s proven to be a worthy successor. It’s such an honor.  And we’re so proud of the attitude he has about being transferred to Newark. It shows the true missionary spirit he has as a Redemptorist.”

Cardinal Tobin’s “extended family” has also grown to include the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. One of those family members who has come to know him well during his four years as the spiritual leader of the archdiocese is Theresa Brydon, his executive assistant for 2 1/2 years.

“There are some people you feel you’ve known all your life, and that’s how this feels with him,” she said. “I have a feeling of joy for him, but I also feel I haven’t been with him enough.”

It’s a feeling share by many people throughout the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.   

"The true door of mercy, which is the heart of Christ, always remains open wide for us."

An image provided by Greg Otolski, executive director of communications, of the now-closed Jubilee doors at St. Peter's Basilica. Given the tradition schedule, they will remain closed until at least 2025. (The quote in the title being from Pope Francis earlier today.)

A missionary of mercy hugs the pope

By John Shaughnessy (Assistant Editor, The Criterion)

ROME—Holy Cross Father Joseph Corpora couldn’t contain his excitement—which seemed a most natural reaction just minutes after he met Pope Francis, hugged him and gave him a kiss.

“I’m ecstatic!” said Father Corpora, a close friend of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin who lives and works at the University of Notre Dame. “It’s an incredible thing to meet the pope, but it was more incredible for me to meet this pope. He validates my life as a priest—just the way I am and how I think about mercy.

“I’ve always thought I’d rather have God’s mercy than his love. Maybe because I think I need it more.”

He then shared the story of how he met Pope Francis shortly after the Nov. 20 Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican that closed the Holy Year of Mercy that began on Dec. 8, 2015. Father Corpora was one of the hundreds of priests from around the world who concelebrated the Mass with Pope Francis on a gorgeous, blue-sky morning. He is also one of the priests from around the world who the pope has designated as a missionary of mercy, with the ability to forgive certain sins.

During the Mass, Father Corpora was also one of the priests who distributed communion to the tens of thousands of Catholics inside St. Peter’s Square. After he finished, he returned the communion hosts to inside St. Peter’s Basilica as he had been instructed. But instead of returning to his seat, he decided to stay close to the platform where Pope Francis, Cardinal Tobin and the other cardinals were.

“I told myself, ‘I’m going to stay up here near the pope,’ ” he recalled. “I began inching up. And when Mass was over, I somehow ended up in the very first row. The pope was greeting every cardinal, one by one. I just stood there with the other priests and bishops who were standing there, hoping to meet the pope.

“Sure enough, the pope comes our way, one by one. And he comes to me! I grabbed his hand, kissed him on the cheek, hugged him and we started speaking in Spanish. I said, ‘Thanks for sending me out as a missionary of mercy.’ He said, ‘It’s not over. Keep it up.’ I said, ‘I will.’ And then I said, ‘Thank you for everything. I love you.’

“I had a rosary in my hand, he picked it up, and he blessed it for me.”

Father Corpora beams a smile again and says, “I can’t believe it!”