There's a new Archbishop in Newark and he's the first Cardinal to hold the position in the 164-year history of the Archdiocese. If he wasn’t dressed in the robes of a Cardinal, you might think Joseph Tobin was a bodybuilder. As it turns out he sort of is. Tobin and his six foot three frame were a regular fixture at a gym in Indianapolis, where he previously served as their Archbishop. Late last year Pope Francis had other ideas for him. For Tobin that was a surprise.
“Through the decision of Pope Francis, the church has called me to serve the Archdiocese of Newark. It is a daunting proposition. Not because of the size, rich history, or wonderful diversity of this portion of the vineyard, rather this appointment reminds me that the stakes are incredibly high.”
The installation of Cardinal Tobin ends the fifteen-year tenure of Archbishop John Myers. Myers was thought of as a controversial figure by some for his handling of a sexually abusive priest and his lofty 4,800 foot retirement home built on diocese funds. For Father Brian Gonzalez of St. Aloysius Church in Newark’s Ironbound, Myers deserves to live well in retirement for his years of service to the community.
“Sad in a sense for the loss of Archbishop Meyers. He was very dear; I knew him since I came here. He was the one who ordained me. I love him very much, but happy to see also that God has given us a new shepherd.”
Hundreds, probably close to a thousand people turned out to the Cathedral Basilica in Newark to celebrate Tobin’s arrival. The Archdiocese of Newark serves over one million people in Bergen, Hudson, Union and Essex counties.
“We’re very excited, very excited.”
“We’re welcoming the new shepherd of the Archdiocese, Cardinal Tobin.”
Jack and Mary from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Ridgewood say they couldn’t secure a spot inside the ceremony, but set up shop outside with signs to welcome the new Archbishop.
“The life that’s coming to Newark, the whole archdiocese of Newark through this event, through Cardinal Tobin.”
“It’s also an occasion of great joy, and also an occasion of gratitude for Archbishop Meyers and all of the work that he has done in his many, many years of his shepherding this archdiocese."
50 church hierarchy members from all over the country attended Archbishop Tobin’s installation mass. Tobin had to fight off tears before addressing the audience.
“Rejoice because we will grow in unity and humility, and in the process discover joy and peace in our life together. Rejoice because out kindness will be known to all. To the searching young and the forgotten elderly. To the stranger and the voiceless. To the powerful and the cynical. And to all people of good will, we proclaim our desire to work with you for the common good of all.”
At 64 years old, Tobin has eleven years before he reaches the mandatory Bishop retirement age of 75. With overwhelming approval already setting in and his health conscious mindset, it’s likely the Archdiocese of Newark will reap the benefits of having a cardinal at the helm for years to come.