The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, today announced to a gathering of local journalists and Archdiocesan employees and guests in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart that His Holiness, Pope Francis, has accepted his request for retirement under Canon 401 §1 of Canon law, and has named His Eminence, Cardinal-elect Joseph W. Tobin as the Sixth Archbishop of Newark.
Prior to this announcement, Cardinal-elect Tobin had been the Sixth Archbishop of Indianapolis. On October 9, The Holy Father named him to the College of Cardinals.
In making this announcement, Archbishop Myers stated: “Today it is my honor and pleasure to present to you His Eminence, Cardinal-elect Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
“I am very happy to welcome him in the name of all of us in this great Archdiocese,” he continued. “I know that he will find that the 1.5 million Catholics within the four counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union are rich in faith, have a great love for the Church, and are committed to living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Archbishop Myers then stated that he has known and worked with the Cardinal-elect on a number of occasions over the years both within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and through the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome, where His Eminence had served as Archbishop Secretary from 2010 until his appointment as Archbishop of Indianapolis in 2012.
Archbishop Myers also noted that both he and Cardinal-Elect Tobin share a regional kinship. “The Archdiocese of Indianapolis, from which he will join us, and the Diocese of Peoria, from which I originate, share a boundary – a friendly boundary, I might add. The Midwest experience might have some influences, as I am sure you soon will learn.”
Cardinal-elect Tobin addressed the gathering by stating: “Two weeks ago, I learned that Pope Francis was entrusting to me the pastoral care of this storied Archdiocese. Two week earlier, I discovered that the Holy Father had named me to the College of Cardinals. I am not sure my central nervous system can take much more news. You will forgive the occasional stutter or facial twitch.”
Reflecting on the change in assignment, he said, “I have understood that God has called me to live my baptism as a missionary disciple: one who is called by Jesus to be with Him and be sent forth to preach and to heal.”
Although he stated that he had no immediate vision for the future of the Archdiocese, Cardinal-elect Tobin shared that there were three principals that will guide his ministry as he discerns with the people of this local Church of Newark the way forward. “The criterion by which I can to be judged is whether, by word and actions, I led people to a deeper love for Jesus, who is the merciful face of God. My first conviction is that I am called to watch over the unity of this Archdiocese and to encourage in charity the journal of all toward an ever-greater knowledge, faith and love of Christ.
“My second conviction is that the love of Christ is made manifest through His Body, the Church. In describing the mission of the Church, the Holy Father outlined the tasks of the Archdiocese of Newark: to heal the wounded hearts, to open doors, to free people to say that God is good, God forgives all, that God is our Father, that God is tender, that God is always waiting for us.”
His Eminence then added that he believes “that the Church in every age is challenged to reproduce the double miracle that accompanied her birth.” Referencing the miracle of the day of Pentecost – that people form many lands heard the Good News proclaimed by the Apostles, each in his or her own language, as well as the subsequent miracle of the ability of the many different people who constitute the Church retain the richness of their cultures while discovering a principle of unity. “This principle,” he said, “is nothing less than the Holy Spirit.” He recalled that he “grew up in a multi-cultural neighborhood of Southwest Detroit. I was a little jealous of classmates that went home and spoke a different language, ate different food, thought differently. My service of the Church obliged me to live many years in cultures different from the Irish-American ambient of my family. So I am excited to lead an Archdiocese where the Eucharist is celebrated each Sunday in 20 languages. The Holy Spirit will help us prolong the double miracle of Pentecost.”
The Cardinal-elect then expressed his gratitude to “the power of the Gospel, which has brought about remarkable growth of Christ’s Church in this Archdiocese and enabled its generous contribution, past and present, to American society and to the world; to Pope Francis, for his leadership of the Church and the example of his life, which teaches me how to be a bishop; to Archbishop John Joseph Myers, for the 15 years he has spent laboring for the good of the Church, and; to my beloved Archdiocese of Indianapolis – her Clergy, Religious and Faithful – in thanksgiving for all we have been able to do together, for the love and respect we share, for the unit that we will continue to enjoy in the communion of saints and the Breaking of the Bread.”
He concluded his remarks with a reference to the American Catholic novelist, Walker Percy, who wrote: “Never has there been a more fertile harvest for the seed and the harvest the Lord spoke of. All that is needed is a bearer of the Good News who speaks of it with such authenticity that it can penetrate the most exhausted hearing, revise the most jaded language.
“I invite the Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious and Faithful of the Archdiocese of Newark,” he said, “to pray for me, that in my service to you, I might speak of the Good news with such authenticity that you may recognize in my words the voice of the Good Shepherd.”
A Mass of Installation for the new Archbishop is expected to take place on Friday, January 6, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark.