WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has named
Bishop Charles C. Thompson of Evansville, Indiana, to head the
Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Archbishop Thompson, who has been Evansville's bishop since 2011,
will succeed Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, who was named to head the
Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, last November.
The appointment was announced June 13 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Archbishop Thompson, 56, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, was vicar
general of the Louisville Archdiocese from 2008 until he was named
bishop of Evansville.
On the national level, he is a member of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops' Administrative Committee, the Committee on Priorities
and Plans, and the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
"I pledge to dedicate myself to you without hesitation or reservation,"
Archbishop Thompson told the people of the Indianapolis Archdiocese at a
"Together, we will build on the incredible foundation that already
exists," he continued, "striving to discern the signs of the times and
make every effort to participate in framing the essential questions of
faith and life, in order promote a shared vision rooted in
Word, sacrament and service that enables us to respond rather than react
to opportunities and challenges."
He said he had been "humbled and honored" by Pope Benedict XVI naming
him to Evansville and feels that way yet again with Pope Francis
appointing him to Indianapolis.
"I cannot begin to fully express my deepest gratitude and affection
for those with whom I have served in the Diocese of Evansville," the
archbishop said. "These past six years, I have been very blessed to
serve with such wonderful priests, deacons, religious, lay colleagues
and, most especially, a great mentor and brother" in retired
Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger, whom he succeeded in Evansville.
The bishop "helped to form and educate me as a successor of the
apostles," he said."Thank you for your patience and understanding in
breaking in a rookie bishop. The church in southwest Indiana will always
have a special place in my heart."
He added that he is happy to be staying in Indiana to continue to be
part of the Indiana Catholic Conference and to serve with "such
wonderful brother bishops" in the state --
Bishops Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Tim H. Doherty of
Lafayette and Don J. Hying of Gary, Bishop Gettelfinger and retired
Bishops William L. Higi of Lafayette and Dale J. Melczek of Gary.
"Drawing on my episcopal motto, 'Christ the Cornerstone,' it is my
first and foremost prayer that we be Christ-centered in all aspects of
our identity, mission and witness in proclaiming the joy of the Gospel,"
Archbishop Thompson said.
The archbishop holds a bachelor of arts degree in accounting from
Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, a master of divinity
St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana and a licentiate in canon law
from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario. He was ordained a priest
for the Louisville Archdiocese in 1987.
At the news conference he noted that during his seminary formation and education at St. Meinrad School of Theology, now-retired
Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, a Benedictine, was his seminary rector.
He added that following Cardinal Tobin in Indianapolis "is more than a
daunting task. Moving from Evansville to Indianapolis, I cannot help
but think of the best known song paying tribute to the Hoosier State,
'Back Home Again in Indiana.'"