Students wear red, offer prayers for new cardinal

By Michelle Martin
Sunday, November 27, 2016

Students wear red, offer prayers for new cardinal

Wearinga red zucchetto, Derick Nava says a prayer during Nov. 18 service at St. Zachary School in Des Plaines. The service was in honor of Archbishop Cupich’s elevation to the College of Cardinals. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Students sing during a Nov. 18 prayer service at St. Zachary School in Des Plaines in honor of Archbishop Cupich’s elevation to the College of Cardinals. The school joined many in the archdiocese in asking students to wear red that day. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

For the students at St. Zachary School in Des Plaines, the consistory where Archbishop Cupich became Cardinal Cupich was much more than simply an occasion to wear red clothes to school instead of their regular uniforms.

The students did join their peers in red from all across the archdiocese, of course, but they also spent time in religion classes learning about the role of cardinals in the Catholic Church during the week leading up to the consistory.

On Nov. 18, the whole school came together for a prayer service led by the student council.

“I’m praying that Cardinal Cupich will be a good leader and will advise the pope well,” said eighth-grader Brandon Vesilino.

“I’m praying that he remains a good leader since he’s going higher up the Catholic pyramid,” said eighth-grader Gerick Valera. “With this appointment, he could become pope one day.”

“I’m praying that he has good health, physically and spiritually,” said seventh-grader Joanna Vogt.

St. Zachary School was among many schools and religious education programs that posted photos and videos on social media sites of their students wearing red, and congratulating and praying for Cardinal Cupich and the other new cardinals.

St. Zachary principal Carrie Forestor said that Cardinal Cupich has not yet visited the school or parish, although the pastor, Father Jack Plotkowski, plans to invite him soon. She met Cardinal Cupich last year at a gathering for school principals, and she was impressed with the way he interacted with people.

“He was very open, very willing to take questions from a room of 200-plus principals,” she said.

Brandon said he met Cardinal Cupich at outdoor pro-life rally in the winter.

“He was very warm and open, and he said he really appreciated our support,” Brandon said. “He said he really loved how warm we were on a cold day.”

All the students said they were excited to witness history.

“This is the first time we’ve had an archbishop become a cardinal in our lives,” Gerick said.

“And a lot of people in Chicago have been kind of sad since Cardinal George died since we didn’t have a cardinal,” said Ronan Valera, a seventh-grader. “Now we’ll have one again.”


  • cardinal cupich
  • catholic schools
  • cardinals
  • st. zachary

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