A NEW DAY AND NIGHTFEVER
By far, the #1 question I was asked while greeting the folks on State Street last weekend was, “Monsignor, did you meet Archbishop Cupich yet?” For the many visitors and the regulars who may have been out of town last weekend, Pope Francis announced on September 20 that Bishop Blase Cupich will be installed on November 18 at Holy Name Cathedral as the 9th Archbishop of Chicago, the 14th chief bishop since Chicago became a diocese, and the successor of Francis Cardinal George whose retirement was accepted by the Holy Father. Bishop Cupich, a native of Omaha, for the past four years has shepherded the Church of Spokane, Washington (103,000 Catholics). During the previous twelve years, he was the successor of the Apostles serving Catholics in Rapid City, South Dakota (31,500 Catholics). Chicago has 2,300,000 Catholics; and the new Archbishop says he hopes to meet every one of you.
My answer to the questioners was that I did not get the chance to meet him last Saturday; but I had met him twice previously. Almost eleven years ago at the Cathedral Ministries Conference in Los Angeles at the new Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, several Cathedral pastors stood around at the initial session exchanging notes. Our keynote speaker, Bishop Cupich of South Dakota, introduced himself to my group and asked where each of us was from. When I identified Holy Name Cathedral, the bishop obviously had heard of us. “How many scheduled Sunday Masses do you have at a Cathedral the size of Holy Name?” Today, Saturday and Sunday, we have eight; back then we also had a Mass at a rent-free chapel near Navy Pier that does not exist anymore. When I answered, “Nine”, the other pastors gasped. The next closest in the poll had four. Bishop Cupich followed up by asking, “How many priests do you have to cover that schedule?” When I answered that, at that time, we had ten in the house, the eyes of the bishop bulged. “Ten? Ten? I only have thirty-seven diocesan priests in the western half of South Dakota!” I asked him to hold off on judging by adding, “One of my guys has poor eyesight, two of us are insulin-dependent diabetics, one has bad legs, two are over eighty…” He interrupted. “Me, too! I don’t have thirty-seven supermen!” The next day after his keynote speech, while answering a question about the varieties of American Cathedrals, Bishop Cupich pointed his finger at me and repeated his inquiry – “How many Masses? How many priests?” My brother rectors/pastors realized both that we are not all alike and that Chicago’s Cathedral is one of a kind. As of last Saturday, it belongs to Archbishop Cupich!
I met him again last December when Cardinal George celebrated his own 50th anniversary of ordination as a priest. Over one hundred bishops attended that event, a remarkable number for the week before Christmas. Before the afternoon’s Cathedral Mass, most of the bishops met for lunch at Roy’s, across the street from Holy Name. Bishop Cupich arrived about 1:00pm, skipped lunch, and came straight to the Cathedral rectory where I was getting things ready for the army of bishops. I recognized him immediately, introduced myself and reminded him we had met previously. Warmly smiling, he replied, “I remember.” He gave that same response to Mary Ann Ahern (NBC5), Jay Levine (CBS2), and Alan Krashesky (ABC7) at last Saturday’s press conference when each recalled that she or he had met him before. He may have a great memory; nevertheless, he is gracious. I look forward to meeting him again soon. I am sure I will.
Blase Cupich will be installed as the Archbishop of Chicago on November 18 when he sits in the cathedra or teaching chair of Chicago’s bishop. That is the one up against the east wall of the sanctuary. Every cathedral has a cathedra. Just four men previously have sat during ceremonies in that chair since it was installed and took the place of a previous one in 1969 – John Cardinal Cody; Joseph Cardinal Bernardin; Francis Cardinal George; and the most famous person ever to visit Holy Name Cathedral, Pope St. John Paul II. The anniversary of St. John Paul’s visit comes up next Saturday and Sunday. On the evening of October 4, 1979, he led a prayer service in a packed Church. People had tickets for various areas around Holy Name. My family and I stood beneath a billboard in a flat parking lot kiddy-corner from the Cathedral at State & Superior. Google the You Tube clips to get a look at the October 4 visit. Sadly, nothing is recorded of the October 5 visit when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed for him.
The third Archbishop and first of Chicago’s Cardinals, George Mundelein, passed away on October 2, 1939, seventy-five years ago this coming Thursday. A native of Brooklyn, he governed the Chicago Church strongly beginning in early 1916. In 1924 he was elevated to the rank of Cardinal or clergyman of Rome. Cardinal George will remain a Cardinal not because he used to be Archbishop of Chicago, but because he remains the pastor – although remotely – of San Bartolomeo all’Isola, a parish in Rome. The main job of a Cardinal, voting for a new Pope, expires at age 80. Cardinal George participated in two conclaves. Will Archbishop Cupich be a Cardinal? Not immediately, nor automatically. There once were Cardinal-Archbishops in St. Louis; the last four Archbishops of St. Louis have not been elevated to the College of Cardinals. Archbishop Jose Gomez Velasco of America’s largest Archdiocese, Los Angeles, is not a Cardinal, although his retired predecessor Roger Mahony is. There are two New York City Cardinals - Edward Egan, the Archbishop emeritus (and a former resident priest at Holy Name Cathedral); and Timothy Dolan, the present Archbishop. Although there are about eighteen American-born Cardinals, just New York, Boston, Galveston-Houston, and Washington today are governed by non-retired Cardinal Archbishops. On Thursday, the seventy-fifth anniversary of his death, pray for one of the great leaders of yesterday, Cardinal Mundelein.
One of the peculiarities of our parish is that very few people live all or most of their lives here. There are a few, but not as many as there are in traditional neighborhood parishes. Given all the weddings we celebrate, perhaps only every other year there is bride or groom who was baptized as an infant at the Cathedral. She was not a part of Holy Name her whole life, but Jean Carroll, who died on September 16 at age 97, had been a part of Holy Name Cathedral since 1946. She and her husband raised two adopted sons on Delaware Place in the era when there was a parish school. I met Jean when she stepped forward at age 87 to serve on the Parish Pastoral Council from 2004-2007. Very humbly, she explained that she had stepped forward in the 1990s when she was one of the principle writers of the commemorative 150th parish anniversary book, a valuable history of Holy Name. So many energetic and generous volunteers give so much of themselves to our parish ministries. An exceptionally intelligent person, Jean for a long time was a rare jewel who was always connected to our parish. God rest Jean Carroll.
NIGHTFEVER (advertised on page 5) is a special informal evening of prayer, reconciliation, and opening the doors of Holy Name to all who want to pray the night away. It will be held next Saturday, October 4, beginning with the regularly scheduled 7:30pm Vigil Mass. The celebrant will be the Rector of Mundelein Seminary, author, in-demand speaker, and master of the Word On Fire media ministry, Father Robert Barron. Who can come? Anybody. If you have questions, ask Father Brad Zamora, Cathedral Associate Pastor. Come to Holy Name Cathedral next Saturday night for NIGHTFEVER. The doors are open wide.
Msgr. Dan Mayall