Abp. Tobin visits Redeemer

Archbishop Joseph Tobin

Following Mass, Archbishop Tobin stayed in the church’s main aisle greeting parishioners for more than a half-hour. | Photo by Larry A. Peplin

Detroit — He’s certainly no stranger, but a recent visit by Redemptorist Archbishop Joseph Tobin brought a lot of smiles to a lot of faces at Holy Redeemer Parish last weekend.

The last time he was in town, Archbishop Tobin was Fr. Tobin. He was ordained an archbishop Oct. 9 of this year in St. Peter’s Basilica after Pope Benedict XVI appointed him secretary of the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Archbishop Tobin grew up at Holy Redeemer and was pastor of the parish in the 1980s.

In his homecoming, Archbishop Tobin called the Holy Redeemer congregation his “family in spirit,” stressing that he was their brother.

During Mass, concelebrated by pastor Msgr. Donald Hanchon and a number of other priests, Archbishop Tobin encouraged the community, in the first Sunday of Advent, to “wake up to the gift of our lives – one that is beautiful, but fragile as well.”

During the recessional, people of all ages converged on the archbishop, who was shaking hands, giving blessings, and striking up conversations with many who look forward to his annual visits.

“The whole community is proud of him,” said Miguel Gutierrez, 38, who has fond memories of being an altar server for then-Fr. Tobin in the 1980s. “He’s always been such a big part of the community. He helped build this community.”

Margaret Tajada, 79, called Archbishop Tobin “a special priest.”

“We’re happy that he got as far as he is,” she said. “He loves everybody and he wants everybody to go to church. He’s a very holy man.”