ROME—On a morning that would distinguish Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin’s connection to Pope Francis and his leadership of the archdiocese, an unexpected sequence of scenes forever defined the archbishop in the hearts of the 80 people who made a pilgrimage to Rome with him.
The scenes started shortly before 6:30 on the sun-kissed morning of June 29, the day when Archbishop Tobin would later kneel in front of Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Basilica to receive his pallium—a circular band made from lamb’s wool that symbolizes his role as the shepherd of the archdiocese and his communion with the pope.
Yet three hours before that historic moment, Archbishop Tobin stood in front of a bus parked in the middle of a street near one of the hotels where he stayed with his fellow pilgrims, and greeted each of them by name, with a smile and with variations of the words, “I’m happy you’re here to celebrate.”
As the bus made the short trip to Vatican City, the archbishop used the public address system microphone to tell a joke before turning serious as he led prayers “for the churches of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, especially the Batesville Deanery” where a series of closings and mergers of parishes were announced recently.
Just before the bus parked in a compact area between St. Peter’s Basilica and the residence that Pope Francis calls home, the archbishop told the pilgrims, “I hope everyone has a wonderful celebration this morning.” Stepping from the bus, he posed for picture after picture with pilgrims, old friends and family members until he finally had to enter St. Peter’s 30 minutes later.
Read the rest of the story here