Archbishop Cupich named to College of Cardinals

By Michelle Martin
Sunday, October 16, 2016

Archbishop Cupich named to College of Cardinals

Archbishop Cupich takes questions from reporters after Mass. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Parishioners applaud for the archbishop during the Oct. 8 Mass. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich accepts the gifts from a family during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich shares the sign of peace with Father Louis Cameli. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich speaks to the media in the courtyard of Holy Name Cathedral following Mass at Holy Name Cathedral on Oct. 9. He learned that morning that Pope Francis appointed him to the College of Cardinals. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

Archbishop Cupich greeted the congregation at Holy Name Cathedral Oct. 9 with quips about the other news in town – the Chicago Marathon and the Cubs’ second playoff win – before acknowledging the news that he had been appointed to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis.

Archbishop Cupich, who was appointed archbishop of Chicago on Sept. 20, 2014, said he was “deeply humbled” by the pope’s decision, which was announced earlier that day in Rome at noon, or shortly after 5 a.m. Central time. The new cardinals are to be invested on Nov. 19, the day before the close of the Jubilee of Mercy.

In a brief press conference following 11 a.m. Mass at the cathedral, the archbishop said he also is encouraged by his appointment. Asked if the pope sent a message with his appointment, Archbishop Cupich said he heard that question frequently when he was named archbishop.

“I responded that the pope was sending not a message but a pastor,” the archbishop said.

Now, he said, he hopes he and the other cardinals can help Pope Francis in his mission. The root of the word cardinal is the same the root of “cardio,” meaning heart, and that demonstrates how close cardinals are to be to the Chair of Peter, Archbishop Cupich said.

Archbishop Cupich is one of 17 new cardinals named Pope Francis. Thirteen are under age 80, meaning they are eligible to vote in the election of a new pope, and three hail from the United States. In addition to Archbishop Cupich, they are Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis and Bishop Kevin Farrell, prefect of the new Vatican office for laity, family and life.

The others come from 10 other countries, including seven countries that do not now have any cardinals. They are:

Announcing the names of the new cardinals, Pope Francis said, "Their coming from 11 nations expresses the universality of the church that proclaims and witnesses the good news of God's mercy in every corner of the earth."

Archbishop Cupich said he is honored to be in their company.

As for changes in his daily life, the archbishop said the Archdiocese of Chicago remains his priority, “and I intend to keep my calendar as much as I can,” although duties as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops will place some demands on his time. Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Cupich to the congregation in July. The congregation’s main job is identifying and proposing candidates to become bishops in dioceses in the Americas, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

There had been much speculation that an appointment to the College of Cardinals was in the offing for Archbishop Cupich, and members of the congregation at the Mass he celebrated Oct. 9 at the cathedral were happy for him, but not really surprised.

Andy Cwik, who regularly attends Mass at Holy Name, said, “I was surprised it was today, but in general, it was expected. The archbishop of Chicago has always been a cardinal.”

“I was wondering when it would happen,” said Don Michorczyk. “We’re back where we should be.”

But no diocese or archdiocese automatically has its ordinary elected to the College of Cardinals. Some archdioceses who have had cardinals at the helm in the past no longer do, and some that have not have cardinals in the past are seeing their archbishops don red hats, including Indianapolis.
After the announcement, Archbishop Tobin tweeted that he was “shocked beyond words” by the news.

Asked when he learned the appointment had been made, Archbishop Cupich said he was awakened by phone call from a friend in Rome shortly after 5 a.m., on a day he’d been intending to sleep in until 7 a.m.

“I was glad to get the phone call, but I missed those two hours of sleep,” he said. “While I’m pleased with this, I don’t really feel any different. I feel like I’ll be the same person I’ve always been.”

He had spoken with many members of his family Sunday morning, he told reporters, and he could assure them that at least one thing had not changed.

“They still treat me with the same lack of deference they always have.”

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Contributing to this story was Catholic News Service


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