Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Our three new auxiliary bishops

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Pope Francis has given the Archdiocese of Chicago a great gift in naming three new auxiliary bishops to serve the Catholic community in Lake and Cook counties. They will be ordained on Sept. 17, the Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine. 

Bishop Ronald Hicks will continue as vicar general. Bishop Mark Bartosic will become the vicar of Vicariate II. Bishop Robert Casey will be the vicar for Vicariate III, with Bishop Alberto Rojas moving to Vicariate I. Bishops John Manz, Joseph Perry and Andrew Wypych will continue in their present vicariates.

The new bishops are classmates, all ordained in 1994. Yet they have had a rich variety of pastoral experiences, having made their own unique contributions to the life of the church. Each of them has chosen a motto, which is a window into their own spiritual lives, but also revealing of how they might approach their new ministry as a bishop. In time, I am sure they will say something of their reasons for their mottos, but I want to offer a few words about each.

Bishop Hicks has chosen the famous greeting attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. It will appear in Spanish as “Paz y Bien,” which in English could read “Peace and All Good.” “Paz y Bien” is also the name of the faith formation program of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, the network of orphanages where Bishop Hicks served for five years. His love of the Latino culture and especially his care for youth will be great assets as he continues as vicar general. 

Bishop Bartosic’s motto, “I Will Be a Father to Him,” which will appear in Latin as “Ego Ero Ei in Patrem,” is taken from 2 Sm 7:14. This is the promise God gives in calling David to shepherd the people, pledging everlasting fidelity. 

The complete phrase in this verse continues: “and he will be a son to me.” God fulfills that promise made to David in Jesus, who hears the words at his baptism by John, “this is my beloved son,” but also as he calls God “Father” in his prayer and on the cross.

Bishop Robert Casey has selected “Into Your Hands,” the words Jesus spoke as he breathed his last and commended his spirit to the Father. These simple words evoke a sense of abiding trust, an openness to do whatever is asked of him, much like the words on our lips when we say the Lord’s Prayer.

Pope John Paul I, known as the smiling pope, reportedly told a story at one of his last audiences, which comes to mind as I reflect on the character and spiritual gifts of these three men. Gathered around the pope, who served only 33 days, was a group of children, and he told them this story about a great king. 

“One day, the great king decided he had had enough of all the regal courtiers and wanted to visit the poorest hamlet in his realm. He instructed those preparing the trip that upon his arrival they should bring to him the poorest child living there. So the day arrived when he traveled to the village with his royal retinue in tow. 

“Upon entering it, a young lad, with mussed hair and rags for clothes was presented to him. The king had his servants open up large chests filled with gold coins and he said to the lad: ‘Little boy, you can have as many of these gold coins as your hands can hold.’ The wide-eyed waif stepped forward and began to size up how he might suspend as many coins as possible in his hands. Then, all of a sudden, he stopped, placed his hands behind his back, and said to the great king, ‘No, your majesty. Use your hands — they’re bigger.’”

All three of these new bishops have begun their 25th year as priests this year, serving with distinction and grace in a variety of capacities. They have chosen mottos that reflect hope about the future, abiding love of God and trust in Divine Providence. They have time and again called on God to sustain them because, like the young lad in the story, they know his hands are bigger.

Please pray for them and for me.

To read Cardinal Cupich's column in Spanish, click here


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