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Cupich to celebrate Mass in North Lawndale on Sunday

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich will celebrate the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday at St. Agatha Catholic Church, the largest African-American parish on Chicago’s West side. It will be his first pastoral parish visit since his installation on Tuesday.

It’s the first of three ethnically diverse parishes he will visit.

The new head of the Archdiocese of Chicago also plans to celebrate Mass at 12 p.m. Nov. 30 at St. Agnes of Bohemia in Little Village, the largest Hispanic parish in the Midwest; and 10:45 a.m. Mass on Dec. 14 at St. Hyacinth Basilica in Avondale. St. Hyacinth, one of the largest Polish parishes in the U.S., is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

Cupich has said that getting to know the people of the archdiocese by being physically present with them in various communities is among his major first-year priorities.

The Rev. Thomas J. Boharic, associate pastor at St. Agnes, said parishioners there are very pleased about Cupich’s upcoming visit, which they first learned of a couple of weeks ago.

People feel “privileged and honored that he would choose to come here,” Boharic said. “There’s a lot of excitement right now . . . especially with his insistence on the importance of immigration reform and our connection to immigrant communities. I think he will be warmly received.”

At St. Hyacinth, the Rev. Stanislaw Jankowski said parishioners are happy Cupich will be a part of their anniversary celebration.

“We believe that he will bring a good message to our parishioners, and we are waiting for him,” Jankowski said.

Church officials at St. Agatha could not be reached for comment.

Cupich will celebrate Mass throughout the archdiocese in January and February, including one on Jan. 8 at St. Rita High School in Chicago; and Feb. 12 at St. John Brebeuf in Niles.

He became Chicago’s ninth archbishop in an installation Mass on Tuesday, succeeding Cardinal Francis George, who retired.

On Cupich’s first full day serving in the post Wednesday, he celebrated Mass at 8 a.m. at Holy Name Cathedral, although he hadn’t been scheduled to do so. He also later led a morning prayer service with men and women religious and lay movements and was scheduled to hold an evening prayer service with deacons, deacon candidates and their wives, wrapping up three days of installation-related activities.

During a portion of the morning prayer service, Cupich told attendees he hoped it was OK for him to remain seated in the cathedra, or chair, as he spoke, noting that he had spent a lot of time the past couple of days standing in receiving lines.

Besides, he said to laughter, “this building is after all named after a chair,” referring to the cathedra.

He told the gathering that religious men and women were a big part of his upbringing, noting that he can still remember all eight sisters who taught him in grade school.

Among the greatest contribution of religious men and women and lay movements is “the witness they give to the whole church,” he said.

“The whole process of our Christian life is ongoing conversion . . . stepping out of our own individuality and seeing how we relate to others and community . . .” he said. “We are connected to one another.”