The cardinal’s story . . . 

Few words.

Tall orders.

Sneed hears Archbishop Blase J. Cupich was sent a personal letter by Pope Francis on Oct. 9 officially naming him a cardinal, joining the elite enclave that advises and selects a pope.

The letter included a papal wish for Cupich, who has a reputation for being a shepherd who not only leads his flock, but is one of them.

The final paragraph of the personal papal missive to Cupich, Francis’ handpicked choice to shepherd the nation’s third-largest diocese and Chicago’s 2.4 million Catholics, contains his marching orders.

And a personal request.

Sneed is told it reads:



Next week, Cupich, a man whose prior work for the church was in poorer regions of the country in Washington and South Dakota — and who eschews the pomp and frippery embraced by some church elite — will officially assume his new role at the Vatican in Rome.

Cupich may even do what he recently told a Chicago Bar Association group: give Francis, who is noted for a great sense of humor, a Jewish yarmulke cap with a Cubs emblem when Francis gives him his cardinal’s cap.


The cardinal’s story II . . . 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is taking a large Chicago delegation to Rome to celebrate the cardinal’s investiture, is tossing a Chicago reception Friday with wife, Amy Rule, at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Italy.

• Among those going: Gov. Bruce Rauner and wife Diana; Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th), Ald. Danny Solis (25th), Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Emanuel’s Chief of Staff Eileen Mitchell, Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and wife Justice Anne Burke. State comptroller-elect Susana Mendoza, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley; Senate President John Cullerton; Cook County Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer and investment guru Michael Sacks are also expected to attend.

It’s a Foxxy move . . .

Newly elected State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has already selected the man to monitor the den.

Sneed has learned Eric Sussman, a former U.S. attorney who specialized in white-collar crime cases including former Sun-Times owner Conrad Black and other top execs of Hollinger International, has been chosen as her first assistant.

Sussman also helped coordinate a joint state/federal probe that wound up convicting 43 Gangster Disciples from the West Side and successfully prosecuted a racketeering case in which the Chicago Police Department’s former chief of detectives was convicted of operating a multimillion-dollar jewelry theft ring

Watch for Foxx, who is replacing Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, to include newly elected California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and Harvard Law School professor Ron Sullivan as part of her transition team next week.

Judy, Judy, Judy . . . 

Little miss repeat: Comptroller-elect Mendoza — who wore a red, good luck suit belonging to the late, great Republican state comptroller Judy Baar Topinka shortly after Mendoza was elected the first Latino Democrat to win statewide office in Illinois — is planning to honor Judy again.

Only this time it won’t involve a zipper.

• To wit: Mendoza tells Sneed she will place her hand on Judy’s Bible when she is sworn into office next month while wearing Judy’s power red ensemble. (Sneed is told Mendoza’s swearing-in could take place as early as Dec. 5 because of the special state statute under which she was elected.)

“It’s going to be so special to have my hand on the Bible Judy got sworn in with and approach this with my heart first, always thinking of the people of the state, the way Judy would have,” Mendoza said.

“I am so touched by her son, Joe, for thinking of me in this way. He is such a strong protector of his mother’s legacy.”

The Blago no . . .

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the ultimate Cubs fan, was repeatedly hit up to write a piece for us from his Colorado prison cell on his beloved Cubs World Series win.

No dice.

He didn’t want to play ball.

“He’s not interested,” Blago’s attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, said.

Let’s play two . . . 

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts spotted at Chicago Cut on Tuesday eating lettuce and ostensibly talking lettuce, if you get my drift. . . . Some Cubbies have yet to head on vacation: Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks spotted at Gibsons on Wednesday. . . . Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo spotted at Bub City on Thursday night jumping on stage with country music star Brett Eldredge, who was in town for the CBS Radio and US99 Stars & Strings Concert, to sing “Go Cubs Go”. . . . Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber at RPM steak last Saturday.

Sneedlings . . .

Congrats to Nora Houlihan Jackson and her husband, Mike, on the birth of their first daughter, Margaret “Maggie” Mary Houlihan. Grandmother Mary Alice Houlihan, widow of the late, great former State Rep. Dan Houlihan, is over the moon — because Maggie was born on what would have been their 53rd wedding anniversary! . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Ryan Gosling, 36; Russell Westbrook, 28, and Sammy Sosa, 48. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Jimmy Kimmel, 49; Whoopi Goldberg, 61, Joe Mantegna, 69, and Billy Siegel, 69.