clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Archbishop Cupich arrives at O'Hare; installation set for Tuesday

Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, who will soon lead Chicago’s 2.2 million Catholics, spoke out on the need to end gun violence in Chicago Thursday.

“It’s going to take everyone to be involved in that, religious, civic leaders, political leaders, the business community,” he said in response to a reporter’s question. “Violence is bred many times in poverty, in situations of poverty and inequality, so those have to be addressed.

“I’ve been told that Chicago prides itself as a city of neighborhoods, and yet those neighborhoods don’t live in isolation or in silos. What happens in one neighborhood affects us all, and so my hope would be that we would look for ways in which we’re going to improve the plight of people. It’s not just a matter of stopping the violence by dealing with violence. It’s a symptom of something deeper.”

Cupich spoke with the media at O’Hare International Airport shortly after arriving to his new home city from Baltimore, where he had attended the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall General Assembly.

The 65-year-old Cupich will be installed as archbishop of Chicago in ceremonies at Holy Name Cathedral Tuesday, succeeding Cardinal Francis George, who is retiring and battling cancer.

Cupich told the media he supported George’s recent release of documents related to priest sexual abuse.

“I am very supportive of what Cardinal George did and the transparency effort in releasing those documents,” he said.

He also voiced support for executive action by President Barack Obama on immigration reform.

“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been in support of comprehensive immigration reform that involves legalizing the situation of people who are undocumented, but also establishing a path to citizenship,” he said. “This has been going on for a long time. It’s time to act. We’re calling on the leaders of both the Congress as well as the president to work together to get this done. . . .If the president decides to take some sort of an executive action that stops the separation of families, the deportation of people that brings about the separation of families, we would be in favor of that.”

His message to Chicagoans as he prepares to assume his new role:

“I’m here to serve them as best I can, to get to know them and I’m grateful already for their very warm welcome,” he said, adding, “People in Chicago are much like the people in Omaha, where I grew up. They work hard. They pray hard and they love their families.”

Cupich won’t be moving right away into his new quarters at Holy Name Cathedral rectory, because he doesn’t yet have a bed there, he said. He will temporarily be residing with Cardinal Francis George at the North State Parkway mansion.

Cupich has spent the last four years as bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, which serves 90,000 Catholics.

After his arrival to Chicago Thursday, he said he feels like he’s coming home as he gets ready for installation events and other activities next week.

Standing in the baggage claim area, he joked that Mayor Rahm Emanuel had invited him to a “small” breakfast next Thursday that, he has since learned, will be attended by about 300 people.

“I guess 300 is small for Chicago,” Cupich said. “Is that right? Is that how it works?”

Archbishop designate Blase Cupich meets with the media upon his arrival at O’Hare Airport. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times