Amid great pomp and circumstance and musical fanfare, Cardinal Joseph William Tobin was installed as the sixth Archbishop of Newark Friday, Jan. 6, before an overflow crowd of more than 2,200 people at Newark’s Cathedral-Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Six American Cardinals (including retired former Archbishop of Newark Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick) and 60 archbishops and bishops from throughout the country attended the installation liturgy.
Some 500 priests and deacons from the archdiocese, neighboring New Jersey and New York dioceses, and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, as well as civic leaders – including Gov. Chris and Mary Pat Christie – and representatives of New Jersey’s Jewish, Protestant and Orthodox communities, were also in attendance.
Also in attendance at the installation were members of Cardinal Tobin’s family and guests from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, where he had served previously as Archbishop.
The Rev. Joseph Mancini, pastor of Kearny’s St. Stephen’s Church, could be seen throughout the Mass (on TV) as the lead master of ceremonies and Cardinal Tobin’s personal assistant. Former Kearny resident Robert Evers also had a prominent role at the installation, leading the processional into the cathedral and the recessional to the Mass.
The Most Rev. John J. Myers, the embattled archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Newark, whose 15-year tenure ended because he reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops at 75, welcomed all guests to the liturgy in English and Spanish on behalf of the priests, religious and laity of the archdiocese.
Immediately following the welcome, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States (the pope’s official American representative), the Most Rev. Christophe Pierre, read the mandate from Pope Francis authorizing Cardinal Tobin to take canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Newark, a community of 1.5 million Catholics in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties.
The Rev. Monsignor Michael A. Andreano, chancellor of the archdiocese, presented the mandate to the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Newark, who examined it and affixed the archdiocesan seal. Cardinal Tobin then was led to the cathedra, the “throne” of the archbishop of the archdiocese and presented with the staff, the sign of his pastoral office.
Those in attendance greeted him with thunderous applause after the formal seating, and representatives of diocesan groups, leaders of religious communities and government officials extended personal greetings to Cardinal Tobin by approaching him at his cathedra.
Among those in attendance was Kearny’s Oscar Omar Fernandez.
Fernandez said once the Mass was over, the new cardinal remained near the cathedral-basilica’s vestibule to take photos with attendees.
“He waited for everyone in line who wanted to meet him,” said Fernandez, who attended the installation with his girlfriend, Jennie Rizzo, of Little Falls.
Another Kearny resident who attended the installation, Yvonne Santana, said she was thrilled for two reasons.
“Cardinal Tobin seems like such a warm man,” Santana said. “We aren’t used to that kind of leadership in our diocese. We’re used to coldness from our bishop. I truly hope this is just the beginning of a new era for us here.”
In his homily, Cardinal Tobin spoke of the need for the faithful to remember that God isn’t just present at Sunday Mass, but that he’s present in all things at all times.
“At a dinner party, recently, I was asked what is the greatest challenge the church faces today,” Cardinal Tobin said. “I thought a moment and replied: ‘the chasm between faith and life.’ My questioner looked at me quizzically and remarked that she didn’t expect that answer. I imagine that she was ready for any one of the so-called ‘hot-button’ issues that dominate the discourse, both inside and outside the church.
“As noisy and divisive as those questions might be, they don’t worry me as a growing trend that seems to isolate us, convincing us to neatly compartmentalize our life, subtly seducing us to go to Mass on Sunday, and for the rest of the week, do whatever we think we need to do to get by.
“During this Christmas season, God makes every effort to convince us that faith has everything to do with life – all of life. The proclamation of the birth of Emmanuel announces God-with-us. We do well to listen to that proclamation again and again – to hear over and over again that God is present in the midst of God’s people. This certainty, which we renew each year, is the source of our joy and hope.”
Those not able to be present at the installation were able to view the ceremony via a live broadcast of the entire liturgy provided by NetTV, the media arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and aired on EWTN and other Catholic television networks, as well as being streamed live by News 12 New Jersey.
An archived version of the Mass may be found at bit.ly/tobininstallation.
Pope Francis named Cardinal Tobin to lead the Archdiocese of Newark, one of the largest archdioceses in terms of population in the United States, on Nov. 7. The archdiocese extends over 511 square miles, and is geographically the smallest archdiocese in the United States.
Some 877 priests serve in the various parishes and other ministries in this archdiocese. Permanent deacons, religious sisters and brothers total 1,035. The Archdiocese of Newark encompasses 214 parishes, 96 private Catholic and parochial schools, four Catholic universities/colleges, three Catholic hospitals, and almost 40 health care, ancillary care and medical centers, sanatoriums and hospices, homes for the invalid and aged, and centers for other human services.
Catholic Charities of the archdiocese is considered the largest non-governmental social-service agency in New Jersey.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.