Sneed: Chicago priest on border with pope says ‘not a dry eye’

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Chicago priest Clete Kiley, an expert on immigration policy, was on the Mexican border for a papal Mass. | Sun-Times files

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The Papal Mass .  .  . 

“It stirred my soul,” said Chicago priest Clete Kiley, who is chief operations administrator for Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich.

“Not a dry eye among us,” wrote Kiley, an immigration policy expert who texted Sneed from the Tex-Mex border at Ciudad Juarez shortly before a mass Wednesday officiated by Pope Francis for the plight of migrants fleeing violence and poverty.

“We are seated about 10 feet from the Rio Grande. It is 80 degrees. Sunny. The river is just a stream. When the pope arrived — a quarter million fell silent as he walked to a cross set at the edge of the river.”

“He laid a wreath in memory of immigrants who died in the crossing, and for the victims of violence.”

“Mike, I’m looking across the River into Mexico, looking at a sea of people. My feeling: to see so many . . . immigrants, the poor, ordinary working people, the handicapped gathered in hope and expectation, stirs my own soul.

“Pope Francis has such an ability to lift up those most in need,” he said. “I am reminded of the crowd of 5,000 in the gospel whom Jesus looked upon with pity, and then fed them all!

“I sense a kind of expectation all around me. But I feel the sense of separation profoundly from those on the other side [of the border.]

“But I believe faith had the power to unite and build bridges. The pope is highlighting the dignity of workers, of immigrants, of women. I feel moved to stand in solidarity with all those gathered here.”



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The police blotter .  .  . 

Sneed hears former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, whose application to head London’s Metropolitan Police Department was requested by Scotland Yard, is calling himself “the busiest unemployed guy I know,” according to a Sneed source.

The source also notes “homicides have tripled” since McCarthy was abruptly terminated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“Garry’s fine, but he and his wife’s roots are firmly planted in Chicago and I’d be surprised if he left Chicago,” the source said.

• P.S. Sneed is told McCarthy and Emanuel have not talked since McCarthy left office with four days of back pay coming.

The eraser set .  .  . 

Sneed hears there is a move afoot to name Springfield Southeast High School after President Barack Obama. The school is in a racially mixed area of town and it would honor Obama’s service as an Illinois state senator.

Blink ink!

Lens lore: Beleaguered GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, who recently dumped his eyeglasses for a more power look, got contact lenses last Monday.


The ticket thicket .  .  . 

The Rev. Michael Pfleger still has a bone to pick with the city over “suspicious” parking tickets issued by a Chicago cop outside St. Sabina Catholic Church on a recent Sunday. “I told the city we will not pay for the tickets until we have a full say in court.”


The name game .  .  . 

Congrats to Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) and wife Charna Epstein on the birth of their first child, a daughter named Sigalit Koufax Epstein-Pawar, which is Hebrew for “purple flower.”

Sneedlings .  .  .

Actor Hugh Jackman spotted posing Tuesday evening with 18-year-old Stella McMillan, a double bilateral amputee athlete at the Chicago premier of the film “Eddie The Eagle” at the Chicago’s Showplace ICON Theatre. McMillan is the youngest athlete to finish and win the 2014 Chicago Marathon North Side South Side Challenge. Also in attendance: actor Taron Egerton. . . .Today’s birthdays: John Travolta, 62; Molly Ringwald, 48, and Dr. Dre, 51.

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