Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., D.D.

Archbishop of Newark

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About Cardinal Tobin

Since his installation as Archbishop of Newark in 2017, Cardinal Tobin has led the Archdiocese of Newark’s Catholic community in worship and action.

The son of the late Joseph W. Tobin and late Marie Terese Kerwin, His Eminence, Joseph William Cardinal Tobin was born on May 3, 1952 in Detroit, MI. He is the oldest of 13 children.

Joseph Tobin attended Holy Redeemer Elementary School in Detroit, and then graduated from St. Joseph’s Prep College, Edgerton, WI in 1970. He continued his education at Holy Redeemer College, Waterford, WI, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1975. From 1977 until 1979, he attended Mount Saint Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, NY, earning Masters Degrees in Religious Education in 1977 and Divinity in 1979.

In 1973, Joseph Tobin professed vows as a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorists. In 1976, he professed perpetual vows with the Community. On June 1, 1978, he was ordained to the priesthood. Between 1979 and 1984, Father Tobin served as associate pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish, Detroit, where he engaged in both pastoral ministry to the Hispanic community and youth ministry. In 1984, he was named pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish. He also served in a number of diocesan assignments within the Archdiocese of Detroit, including: Episcopal Vicar; member of the Presbyteral Council, and; official in the Metropolitan Tribunal. 

From 1990 until 1991, he served as pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Chicago, a parish staffed in that Archdiocese by the Redemptorists.

Within the Redemptorist Community, Father Tobin served as a Provincial Consultor from 1984 until 1990, as General Consultor of the Community in Rome from 1991 until 1997, and as Superior General of the Redemptorists in Rome from 1997 until 2009.

Cardinal Tobin’s Papal Appointments 

On August 9, 2010, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, named Father Tobin to the Roman Curia post of Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSA), and titular Archbishop of Obba. On October 18, 2012, Pope Benedict appointed him to serve as the Sixth Archbishop of Indianapolis. He was installed as Archbishop of Indianapolis on December 3, 2012. His Holiness, Pope Francis, named him to the College of Cardinals on October 9, 2016. He was created Cardinal on November 19, 2016.

On November 7, 2016, His Holiness, Pope Francis named Joseph William Cardinal Tobin to serve as the Sixth Archbishop of Newark. He was installed there on January 6, 2017.

Besides his responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Newark, Cardinal Tobin has been appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Synod of Bishops, Congregation for Catholic Education, Pontifical Council for Culture, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Council for the Economy, and Congregation for Bishops.

Cardinal Tobin speaks English, Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese, and reads several other languages. He has participated in many Synods of Bishops, and has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1985.

Cardinal Tobin’s Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of Joseph William Cardinal Tobin is a combination of his personal coat of arms as a bishop and the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Newark.

His personal coat of arms, represented on the right side of the shield as one views it, consists of three elements: a Cross between a perch with a sponge in bend and a spear in bar, supported by a mount of three coupeaux vert (green), before an argent (silver/white) field; three oak leaves on a field of azure (blue), and; a fleur de lis on a field of gules (red), a symbol of transparency, Justice and Truth.

The cross between the perch with the sponge and the spearthe mount representing the event on the Golgota and the vert (green) color recalling the Hope and Virtue that holds us in the pilgrimage toward Salvation come from the coat of arms of the C.Ss.R. (Redemptorists) Congregation to which His Eminence belongs.

The oak leaves come from the crest of the Tobin family. In heraldry, the oak is the symbol of strength necessary to follow the Word of God to reach, at the end of our pilgrimage on earth, the salvation of our souls. The azure (blue) field symbolizes the separation from the worldly values and the ascent of the soul toward God, the Celestial Virtues that raise us from the things of the earth toward the sky.

The fleur de lis is a classical symbol of the iconography of Saint Joseph, the Cardinal’s patron saint, and the gules (red) field symbolizes the Love of the Father who sent the Son to shed His blood for us.

His Eminence chose the motto Gaudete in Domino – Rejoice in the Lord – from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)

The left side of the shield displays the jurisdictional arms of the Archdiocese of Newark, based on the coat of arms of Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, to reflect the origins of the name of the See City. The upper portion of the arms of the Archdiocese includes an argent (silver/white) crescent between two silver/white trefoils (heraldic shamrocks). The crescent is to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Archdiocese, the United States of America and the major seminary of the Archdiocese. This ancient symbol of Mary is derived from the Book of Revelations: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.” (Rev. 12:1) The shamrocks are to honor St. Patrick, titular patron of the Pro-Cathedral; and the gules (red) background of the upper portion signifies the blood coming forth from Christ’s Sacred Heart, the title of the Cathedral Basilica of Newark.

The azure (blue) and argent (silver/white) waves are generally seen as heraldic representations for rivers or bodies of water. The City of Newark in England is located on the River Trent. In New Jersey, parts of the Hackensack, Hudson, Passaic, Rahway, Raritan and Saddle Rivers flow through the Archdiocese of Newark.

The external ornaments are composed of the red pontifical hat with 15 tassels on each side, a gold archiepiscopal processional cross (having two cross members), and a pallium with small black crosses signifying both a Metropolitan Archbishop’s authority and his connection to the Holy Father.


Rejoice in the Lord

A biweekly newsletter by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R. Archbishop of Newark. Please share this newsletter via your parish, school or religious community website and social media.

Stewards Of God’s Grace: A Pastoral Reflection

A publication by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R. Archbishop of Newark

Returning to Grace: A Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist

A pastoral letter by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R. Archbishop of Newark