Celebrating his first Easter Mass in the Chicago area, Archbishop Blase Cupich on Sunday opened up about the death of his father — using the deeply personal story as an example of the power of faith.
“In 2003, my father died, and it was a very difficult moment for my mother,” he told congregants during his homily at St. Julie Billiart Church in Tinley Park.
“They had been married for 57 years and she found herself beginning to doubt whether or not she would ever see him again. Her faith had always been strong, but yet doubts were creeping in. Every day she found herself going to his grave, but that was kind of easy, because my parents lived right next door to the cemetery,” he joked.
Cupich said his mother, Mary, would regularly look out of her window at the grave of her husband, who was also named Blase.
Archbishop Blase Cupich celebrates Easter Mass. | Brian Jackson/For the Chicago Sun-Times
She asked the cemetery caretaker to place a candle on the grave on her husband’s birthday, their anniversary, the day he returned from the war and on Memorial Day.
“And she could literally look outside her window at night when doubts began to creep in and loneliness gripped her heart, and see that light,” Cupich said.
“It was a reminder to her that even though my father had died, the love they had for each other still remained. Death could not destroy that. And that gave her great consolation and was the source of the renewal of her faith. It didn’t start in her head, it started in her heart,” Cupich said, using the story to remind parishioners that God’s grace is working in their hearts all the time.
Cupich said he broke tradition for his first Easter in Chicago and chose not to say Mass at Holy Name Cathedral “to let people know at other parishes that they too are important to the life of the archdiocese.”
Cupich noted all the preparation that went into his visit and joked that one of his sisters told him the only way he could top it would be to parachute into mass.
“I said Im not going to be doing that,” he said with a laugh.
On Cardinal Francis George’s battle with cancer and being released from the hospital recently, Cupich said George “was very pleased to be able to go back home . . . to a place that’s much more familiar to him and more restful.”
Cupich’s homily lasted about 10 minutes. The mass was about 70 minutes, after which he spoke briefly with the media.
As for his plans for the remainder of his Sunday, Cupich said he had dinner plans, “and maybe get a nap in too.”
A worshipper follows the order of service as Archbishop Blase Cupich celebrates Easter Mass. | Brian Jackson/For the Chicago Sun-Times