Reflections on Bishop Tobin’s 25th Anniversary of Episcopal Ordination

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Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., Bishop of Youngstown, Ohio:

I have known Bishop Tobin for many years beginning in 1995 when I was ordained a bishop. His tenure as Bishop of Youngstown was marked with much success and hard work. I particularly appreciate his support of Catholic schools, pro-life advocacy, the development of the Lutheran-Catholic Covenant in Northeast Ohio and his leadership in the first diocesan capital campaign. I am honored to have succeeded him as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown.

Msgr. Robert J. Siffrin, Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio:

It was a singular privilege to work with Bishop Tobin during his ministry here in Youngstown. Whether on the many road trips to parish and school events, in deliberations on administrative matters, discussion of theological issues or in worship, I experienced Bishop Tobin as a thoughtful and kind person. He has been both insightful and witty (sometimes at my expense), decisive yet always considerate. While always organized and hardworking, he knew how to enjoy people and set time aside for reading and writing.

Bishop Tobin always exhibited a great love of the Lord and the church. His concern for the well-being of others extended beyond the members of the Catholic Church to other Christians such as his efforts with the Lutheran Synod of Northeastern Ohio, and other professionals such as his endorsement of the medical profession and legal profession with the White Mass and Red Mass.

It would sometimes happen that people would confuse one of us with the other. Usually the standard response was that I was younger, but he was better looking. It was like losing an older brother when he moved to Providence. He may take some umbrage at “older,” but he will always be a cherished “brother.”

Bishop Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa:

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary celebration of the ordination of Bishop Tom Tobin, I first of all congratulate him and thank him for the wonderful service to the church that he has given these many years. He has served the church well in Pittsburgh, in Youngstown, Ohio, and now in Providence, Rhode Island.

I have had the privilege of knowing Bishop Tobin since we both began seminary studies in 1969 in Rome. He has always been a good friend and now that I too am a bishop, I continue to look to him for inspiration and guidance. The work of the bishop in the church today is not always easy; we have many challenges to face and lots of expectations are placed upon us. Bishop Tobin has served as a guide and mentor for me. The great thing about him is that he serves with such joy and has never lost his sense of humor. He knows how to relax, he knows how to make difficult decisions and he always has time for prayer. He has never been afraid to speak the truth in love.

Even though I am now Bishop of the Diocese of Sioux City in Iowa and he is the Bishop of Providence, I am originally from Denver and he, as you know, from Pittsburgh. That means we have a continuing rivalry whenever the Broncos play the Steelers. This year the Broncos are not doing that well, but in time, I hope they can once more beat not only the Steelers, but even the New England Patriots! Once again congratulations and prayers to Bishop Tobin, all of you are blessed to have him as your shepherd.

Bishop Emeritus Louis E. Gelineau, Diocese of Providence:

We can thank God for the time that Bishop Tobin has been in Rhode Island. He has a special gift that he uses very well. One of those gifts is his understanding the teachings of the church and his willingness to defend and present them to people in a logical way so that they are able to understand and consider them. He also has a gift both for writing — especially his wonderful column in Rhode Island Catholic — and for delivering homilies that are extraordinarily good. People can learn a lot from those. The bishop also possesses leadership qualities that he uses very well.

Our diocese has really been blessed all these years, so we congratulate Bishop Tobin on his 25th and certainly join in prayers for the good work he is doing in the name of the church and the Lord.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans, Diocese of Providence:

Bishop Tobin and I have known each other since 1969 when we arrived in Rome to begin four years of theological studies leading to our ordination to priesthood — Bishop Tobin as a priest of Pittsburgh and I of Providence. Since 2005 Bishop Tobin has been the Chief Shepherd of this Church of Providence, exercising his apostolic ministry according to his episcopal motto — in a manner of one who aspires to be strong, loving and wise.

As one who possesses the fullness of Holy Orders, he walks among us as priest, prophet and shepherd, committed to reflecting in his own life this threefold ministry of worshiping God, preaching the truth of our faith without ambiguity and guiding the flock entrusted to his care with charity and patience.

On this happy occasion of his silver jubilee of episcopal consecration, we pledge our continued support and prayer for this courageous apostle, called, chosen, consecrated and sent by the Good Shepherd to be a priest and bishop after the heart of Jesus.

Bishop Robert E. Mulvee, Bishop Emeritus of Providence:

In the 25 years he’s been a bishop, Bishop Tobin has served in three dioceses and he really has had a wonderful ministry. Providence has had its challenges and he’s met them. An occasion like this gives you the opportunity to pause, look back and thank God for all of the people who made your life as a bishop possible, including the priests of the diocese where you have served. A 25th anniversary is really a golden opportunity to see how many people have helped you over the years and how the church truly functions the best when everybody works together.

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Rochester, New York:

We were together in theology while in the seminary. He was an outstanding seminarian and he carries that through for his entire priesthood and as a bishop and he is a true shepherd of the flock. He is very much attuned to what being a successor to the apostles is all about — the proclamation of the Gospel and the care of the faith. I’m very, very happy for him and wish him many blessings into the future.

Bishop Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts:

Congratulations to Bishop Tobin. He has served the church very well. He is a man of the church. He is a great defender of the faith and a great communicator of the faith and so he is in our prayers.

Bishop Ernest B. Boland, O.P., Bishop Emeritus of Multan:

We wish him a lot of health and good wishes. We pray for him all the time. Twenty-five years is a long time and we wish him many more. God bless him.

Msgr. Albert A. Kenney, Vicar General/Moderator of the Curia, Diocese of Providence:

One of the first questions asked of a newly appointed bishop is: What will your motto be? It is long-standing tradition in the church that each bishop have a motto that appears at the bottom of his coat-of-arms. The motto serves as a goal to achieve as well as a guiding principle for the bishop’s ministry and life. When he was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1992 to serve as the auxiliary bishop of Pittsburg, his home diocese, Bishop Tobin chose a text from the Second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy: “The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit, but rather one that makes us strong, loving and wise (2 Timothy 1:7).”

Since Bishop Tobin appointed me to serve as vicar general and moderator of the curia, I am blessed to have seen Bishop Tobin’s ministry up close. What impresses me most is how he tries to live by his episcopal motto and how it guides his daily actions and decisions.

Strong: I see Bishop Tobin’s strength in his prayer. He is really a man of prayer. I have observed how seriously he takes his first responsibility to pray for the priests and people of our diocese. The Bishop’s dedication to prayer and his trust in God’s care for the church have inspired me.

Loving: There is no question the Bishop is an excellent administrator. He accepts and cherishes his role as father and shepherd to oversee the life of our diocese. Sometimes that work can go unnoticed. Nonetheless, it is crucial for the health of our local church.

Wise: We are truly blessed by his governance of our diocese. I am proud that Bishop Tobin preaches the Gospel of Life. Catholics in Rhode Island are inspired by his courage and conviction to stand for the truth about the dignity of every life and the sanctity of the family. The bishop challenges all of us to live up to the demands of the Gospel.

I am grateful the Lord sent us such a bishop to confront the many, complex challenges the church faces today with his strong, loving and wise stewardship of the gifts and ministry God has entrusted to him these 25 years.

Father Timothy D. Reilly, Chancellor, Diocese of Providence:

What a gift to have Bishop Tobin in our Diocese for these past 12-and-a-half years. He has been with us now for about half of the total 25 years that he has been a bishop. For the past several years, I have been blessed to assist Bishop Tobin in my work as chancellor. I’ve seen the bishop’s many gifts and skills at the administrative level. There is one gift among many that stands out for me. Even in the face of many issues, decisions and challenges, Bishop Tobin consistently demonstrates a calm trust. It’s an acceptance that, ultimately, everything is in the Lord’s hands; that we can only do our best and then move forward.

That has inspired me continually in the ways I approach my daily ministry and I’m grateful to Bishop Tobin for his example.

Congratulations, Bishop Tobin!

Rev. Nolasco Tamayo, Director of Multicultural Ministry:

Since I was appointed three years ago as director of Multicultural Ministry in the diocese, the support and closeness of Bishop Tobin to our office has been enormous. We, as an office, feel ourselves accompanied, guided and led by our diocesan bishop. We can feel his leadership reflected in his availability, his advice and fraternal presence in all our major events.

We, as a multicultural face on the church in the diocese, feel included, supported and strengthened by our diocesan pastor and are very blessed for his kindness and gentleness. Congratulations Bishop Tobin on your 25th Anniversary as bishop and for the 12 years of your service so far in our diocese. We feel your voice, leadership and closeness as you serve those from culturally diverse backgrounds. Many blessings Bishop Tobin as we count our prayers.

Father David Gaffney, Rector and Coordinator for Pre-Ordination Formation, Seminary of Our Lady of Providence:

Bishop Tobin has been a strong promoter of vocations in our diocese and has shown consistent and faithful support of the Seminary of Our Lady of Providence. The priest-faculty and seminarians are very grateful for his concern for each of us. Under Bishop Tobin’s leadership the program of priestly formation at Our Lady of Providence Seminary has prepared not only seminarians from the Diocese of Providence but from several other New England dioceses to enter major seminary.

Sister Elizabeth Castro, HMSP, Director, Office for Religious, Diocese of Providence:

As a religious consecrated to God, I am so blessed to have His Excellency Bishop Tobin as my chief shepherd. I am so grateful for his kindness, for his spiritual guidance, for his inspiring teachings, for his confidence in the ministry he entrusts me, for his thoughtfulness in all he does for all of us, the children of God. It has been a great opportunity to learn from him who is strong, loving and wise. His Excellency enlightens my ministry to be faithful as a follower of Jesus Christ. I am very convinced of the presence of God in him, for his inspiring deep love for God, his church and Our Blessed Mother Mary. I admire his zealous care for all the souls and for all that the Lord entrusted him, which he carries out with kindness, dedication and fidelity. He always teaches us with his example to please God in all we do in his name. I thank him for all he does for all the religious communities for his great support and prayers. Bishop Tobin kindly invited my religious community, Missionary Sisters Servants of the Word to serve here in the Diocese of Providence since 2014.

It is an honor and a blessing to me, and my religious community, to serve and collaborate with him. I pray daily for His Excellency Bishop Tobin and I ask the Lord to reward him all he does for us in his name. On behalf of all religious brothers, sisters and consecrated present in the diocese, we wish you many blessings! Congratulations from the bottom of our hearts on your 25th episcopal ordination anniversary! We joyfully celebrate with you this special day as we offer our special prayers for you.

Silvio Cuéllar, Coordinator of the Office of Hispanic Ministry:

I am immensely grateful to have a pastor in our diocese like Bishop Tobin. In the four-and-a-half years in which I have been serving as the diocesan coordinator of Hispanic ministry, I have been able to work a little closer to him, experiencing firsthand his support and presence within the immigrant community in our state of Rhode Island.

Bishop Tobin has always been willing to listen to our concerns, accompany us in our many events at the parishes throughout the diocese, including in recent years with the process of the V National Encuentro of Hispanic Ministry, supporting us with his presence, inspiration and vital additional resources.

We are very grateful to our pastor, for his clarity in teaching, for his prophetic voice advocating for the little among us — the unborn, the poor, undocumented, homeless — and for all of the programs of assistance to the needy and social services that under his leadership the diocese undertook.

We want to wish him many congratulations on his 25th anniversary and offer our prayers so that the Lord will continue to bless him for many, many more years!

Michael A. Benson, State Deputy, Rhode Island Knights of Columbus State Council:

The members and families of the Rhode Island Knights of Columbus councils extend our great admiration and appreciation of His Excellency Bishop Thomas J. Tobin for his unwavering strength and dedication to lead souls to heaven despite the pressures of a highly secular society. Whenever a controversy is sparked that attacks our Faith, we can always count on Bishop Tobin to challenge the issue with the truth of Christ’s teaching and a call to prayer for the conversion of the offenders. We are proud of his commitment to the success of the Diocese of Providence, his defense of the truth of Christ’s teaching, and his commitment to Catholic family values through the Rhode Island Catholic, homilies and appearances in local and national media. Thank you Bishop Tobin!

Michael F. Sabatino, Chief Financial Officer, Diocese of Providence:

It’s been my pleasure to work under the sturdy and dedicated leadership of Bishop Tobin over these past 12 years. What’s also brought me great joy is that “Patriot Nation” has dominated the Steelers over this period, with eight wins and two losses since 2005, but who’s counting! Happy Anniversary Bishop Tobin, thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do for the Diocese of Providence!