PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Bishop Thomas Tobin will celebrate his 10th anniversary as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Rhode Island on Sunday.
Eyewitness News has learned in the past decade the Diocese has raised more than $78 million for the Catholic Charity alone. The charity helps dozens of agencies including the Emmanuel House Emergency Overnight Shelter.
Bishop Tobin said he thinks it’s important that the church try to be involved in the work of helping people.
Another important outreach for the church is the Keep the Heat on Campaign.
“One of the things I like about the Keep the Heat On is it does provide direct assistance. I know because of that campaign there are individuals and families and children who are staying warm during the winter”, said Bishop Tobin.
The Bishop said though the church has made several positive developments, such as the renovation of the Saint Peters and Paul Cathedral, there are still many challenges facing the local church. In the past 10 years, 15 catholic schools and four churches have closed. While four priests have also been suspended for sexual misconduct.
“As you know the number of priests available for active ministry is declining and it’s declining very rapidly and the numbers I’ve been using in the last six years we’ve had a loss of 46 priests from active ministry and in the same six years we’ve only had ten ordained,” said Bishop Tobin.
Bishop Tobin also touched upon his outgoing nature, and involvement in several controversial topics.
He stated, “As I’ve said many times, I was not ordained to be irrelevant and the church was not commissioned to be irrelevant. Pope Francis himself has encouraged us to be involved in these issues so when I speak out about something whether it’s abortion, or same sex marriage, or care of immigration, or care of the poor, or marriage, or family, whatever it might be, I hope I manage to do that in some clear and respectful way. You know I’m working hard and doing what I can do, but I can’t solve every problem. I can’t do everything, but I’m doing my best and the Lord has to take care of everything else.”
The Bishop said he plans to hold a low key celebration that includes a cookout at the Emmanuel House. He will celebrate 25 years as a Bishop in 2017.