Indianapolis, Ind., Jun 13, 2017 / 12:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican announced Tuesday Pope Francis' transfer of Bishop Charles Thompson from the Evansville diocese to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Archbishop Thompson fills a vacancy left since the November 2016 appointment of Cardinal Joseph Tobin to the Archdiocese of Newark, “I cannot begin to fully express my deepest gratitude and affection for those whom I have served in the Diocese of Evansville,” Archbishop Thompson said in a press conference in Indianapolis June 13.

“These past six years I have been very blessed, very blessed.” “Drawing on my episcopal motto, ‘Christ the Cornerstone,’ it is first and foremost my prayer to remain Christ-centered in all aspects of our identity, mission and witness, proclaiming the joy of the Gospel.”

Msgr. William Stumpf, administrator of the Indianapolis archdiocese, introduced Archbishop Thompson at the press conference by saying: “When Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Tobin as the Archbishop of Newark last November, there was, understandably, among all of us here in the archdiocese, a great deal of sadness.” “And ever since then, we have been fervently praying that God would send us a wonderful new shepherd. And certainly, he has.”

Archbishop Thompson, 56, was appointed in March 2017 to the USCCB Committee on the Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, and as a Region VII representative to the USCCB Administrative Committee and Committee of Priorities and Plans for three year terms.  

Born in Louisville, Kentucky on April 11, 1961, Archbishop Thompson received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Bellarmine College in 1983, and graduated from St. Meinrad School of Theology with a Master’s of Divinity in 1987. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Louisville on May 30, 1987. Archbishop Thompson obtained his licentiate in canon law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada in May 1992. He served as Promoter of Justice and Judge of the Tribunal in Louisville and as priest-chaplain of Sacred Heart Academy from 2004-2011.

In 2002 he began serving as visiting professor of canon law at St. Meinrad School of Theology. He served as vicar general of the Louisville archdiocese from 2008 until his appointment as a bishop. He was appointed Bishop of Evansville on April 26, 2011.

Archbishop Thompson’s Mass of Installation in Indianapolis will be said July 28.

“Drawing on the inspiration of Pope Francis, may we strive to ever more diligently embrace the call to dialogue, encounter, mercy, accompaniment and missionary discipleship,” Archbishop Thompson said. “All of you in southwest Indiana, have helped to form and educate me as a successor of the Apostles, as a shepherd of the local church. Thank you for your patience and understanding in breaking in a rookie bishop,” he continued. “The people of southwest Indiana will always have a special place in my heart.”