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Everything you need to know about the new archbishop of Chicago

Archbishop Blase Cupich was installed as archbishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago at noon Tuesday at Holy Name Cathedral.

But that transition in leadership of the Chicago’s more than 2.2 million Catholics actually is a three-day celebration, starting with the Rite of Reception the night before, when Cupich knocked three times on the door of Holy Name and was ushered inside to receive the archdiocesan stole and greet civic and religious leaders. He offered thanks to his predecessors, as well as his first homily, or sermon, at the cathedral.

It ends with morning and evening prayers on Wednesday.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new archbishop of Chicago and the traditions surrounding his installation here.

Meet Archbishop Cupich

Blase Joseph Cupich is the ninth archbishop of Chicago.

Cupich, 65, was born in Omaha, Nebraska, one of nine children, with five sisters and three brothers, according to his biography on the archdiocese website.

He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1975. He pastored two parishes there before he was appointed Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1998. He comes to Chicago from Spokane, Washington, where he was installed as bishop four years ago.

Pope Francis chose Cupich to follow Cardinal Francis George in late September.

Read more about Cupich:

Archbishop Blase Cupich, the view from Spokane and Chicago

Q & A with Archbishop Blase Cupich

Welcome to Chicago, Archbishop Cupich, but beware the soup: Steinberg

And about the legacy left by his predecessor. George, notably, is the first archbishop to retire from the position in Chicago; previous archbishops all have served until their deaths. (Similarly, Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope in 600 years to step down from the position in 2013.)


Installation mass:

Rite of Reception:


Homily from Rite of Reception:


Live video of installation mass (12 p.m. Tuesday):

Social media

Just after Cupich was seated on the cathedra, the moment when he officially became archbishop of Chicago, he – or whoever mans or schedules his new Twitter account – sent his first tweet:

His account jumped from 22 to 1,112 followers during the mass.

He also shared the same message on Facebook:

Post by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich.Here’s what others shared on social media during the installation mass, including observations from reporters and other trivia:

What’s with the knocking?

The liturgical rites surrounding the transition from George to Cupich began Monday night with three knocks.

Cupich knocked on the door of Holy Name Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago, with a rubber mallot. The door is very symbolic in Catholic ritual, according to Catholic New World, and by knocking, the new archbishop is symbolically asking to be admitted.

He was welcomed at the door by Msgr. Dan Mayall, the rector of the cathedral, who gave him a crucifix and holy water to bless himself with.

In his homily during the rite, Cupich appealed to “Midwestern values” to focus on those who are alienated or live in poverty.

The installation ceremony

Cupich didn’t officially become archbishop until he sat in the archbishop’s chair, the cathedra, during his installation mass Tuesday afternoon at Holy Name. It’s the literal seat that gives the cathedral its name.

But first, Archbishop Carlos Maria Viganò, the apostolic nuncio to the United States of America, had to read an English translation of the Apostolic Mandate of Pope Francis, appointing Cupich as the achbishop of Chicago. He then had to show it to the College of Consultors, the priests who advise the archbishop, and all the people gathered at the cathedral. Once it had been verified, the nuncio asked Cupich whether he accepted the appointment.

Finally, the nuncio and George led Cupich to the cathedra. George presented him with a crozier, or bishop’s staff, that had belonged to Cardinal George Mundelein, according to D. Todd Williamson, director of the archdiocese’s Office for Divine Worship. Mundelein was Chicago’s first cardinal.

And then came the moment when Cupich was seated and officially became archbishop of Chicago.

Here’s the program from the installation mass, which includes more details on the mass, including readings, prayers and the order of service.

Will Cardinal George hang up his hat?

One astute Twitter follower asked during the installation mass whether George now would hang up his hat – literally.

The red galeros of Chicago’s five previous cardinals hang suspended from the ceiling at Holy Name. Traditionally, the cardinal’s hat is raised upon his death, where it remains until it turns into dust. It’s a reminder all earthly glory is passing, according to the cathedral website.

The confusion comes because George is the first archbishop of Chicago to retire before dying in office.

He remains a cardinal, though, and he can vote in papal conclaves until he turns 80. His new title is “archbishop emeritus” of Chicago, much like Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Cupich asked at the end of his installation mass that Chicago Catholics would continue to pray for the archbishop emeritus alongside the archbishop in the Eucharistic Prayer.

Interesting fact: The Pope no longer presents the galero to newly-installed cardinals, according to Holy Name. That practice stopped with Vatican II. But the cathedral’s tradition continues; hats were made for Chicago’s post-Vatican II Cardinals, John Cody and Joseph Bernardin.

What’s next?

On the third and final day of his installation celebration, Cupich will celebrate morning prayer at 10 a.m. with men and women religious and lay movements, according to the archdiocese website. He will celebrate evening prayer at 7 p.m. with permanent deacons and their wives, deacon candidates and their wives, deacon aspirants and their wives and lay ecclesial ministers.

The next engagement on his schedule isn’t until the new year: A welcome mass at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at Vicariate V, St. Rita High School in Chicago.