Archbishop Cupich preaches solidarity at Old St. Pat’s

By Michelle Martin
Saturday, March 19, 2016

Archbishop Cupich preached friendship and the need for inclusion and solidarity at Old St. Patrick’s Church March 12 as he celebrated Mass for the pre-parade civic celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Archbishop Cupich joked about his Croatian roots, saying that when an Irish bishop’s secretary once said he had a “funny name,” he told her it had been shortened from “O’Cupich.”

His homily then took a more serious turn, touching the political, social and economic divisions that have become more apparent over the past several months and years and alluding to the circumstances that led to the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland.

“How did this happen? What were the causes? A segment of society was told they didn’t matter, and were treated as subhuman, ‘a lower class,’ not only economically but socially to be excluded from the body politic,” Archbishop Cupich said.

“Social cohesion wore thin in a system corrupted by inequality, favoring the powerful and wealthy, their self-promotion and preservation to the exclusion of the weak and voiceless. The result: many people lost hope, solidarity vanished, hearts hardened and society ended up becoming infected by a cancer that harmed all.” (See complete text of Archbishop Cupich’s comments).

Rather than allowing people to be divided, God calls on his people to restore and preserve human civilization in a way that includes everyone, to do the work of developing friendships, even between people who disagree, he said. Otherwise, division can strain the body politic to the breaking point, he said.

The spirit of friendliness and welcome evident at Old St. Patrick’s is necessary for all believers, he said.

“On the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day, as Chicagoans, as believers, we are invited to be open to the spirit of God moving us to take up the work of restoration, a restoration that comes in building friendships, in stages, with the discipline and with a commitment to dialogue, a commitment to walk together step by step as equals who, while not always agreeing with each other, have so much in common,” the archbishop said.

“The Jubilee of Mercy, which Pope Francis has called, can be that fresh start we need to step back, reflect on what we all share in common, and reach out to each other with works of mercy that foster friendship and reconciliation and open up new horizons for us to live together as children of the one Father,” he said.

The Mass was preceded by Irish music, including a rendition of “Danny Boy,” and its entrance procession as heralded by Irish step dancers, who led a series of dignitaries into the church.

Political leaders who attended included Michael Madigan, speaker of the Illinois House and grand marshal of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade; U.S. Senator Dick Durbin; Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife, Amy Rule and Irish General Consul Orla McBreen.

Also in attendance were Jim Coyne, the parade’s general chairman and business manager of Plumber’s Local 130 UA, and parade queen Erin Mulcahy.


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