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Archbishop Cupich’s Easter message: I’ve got your back

Archbishop Blase Cupich sprinkles Holy Water at St. Ailbe Parish on Easter Sunday. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

Archbishop Blase Cupich said Easter Mass at St. Ailbe Parish on the South Side on Sunday, offering a message of peace and understanding in the face of gun violence and global terrorism.

“My hope would be that a celebration like today can get people to start rethinking about how we want to speak about our problems, how we want to speak about each other, and how we want to treat each other in moments of conflict,” Cupich said after Mass, summarizing his homily.

“We don’t need shootings in our streets. We don’t need brutal terrorism attacks. We don’t need a language that divides us in our political discourse. There’s another way that we should approach these issues,” he said.

Cupich’s parting message at St. Ailbe, 9015 S. Harper Ave. — one of the city’s largest black congregations — was very well-received.

“I care about you, your lives, the challenges that you have raising children, the challenges you have in the community. I’m with you. And you should know that your archbishop has your back,” he said.

Parishioner Karl Mitchell’s daughter, Gabrielle, was baptized during the service. Mitchell, 37, said he could not overstate the importance of Cupich’s presence.

“It means the world to me,” he said. “When I first found out about it, it brought tears to my eye.”

Archbishop Blase Cupich wipes Gabrielle Marie Mitchell's head after baptizing her at St. Ailbe Parish on Easter Sunday as Gabrielle's godmother, Pamela Mitchell holds the 2-month-old. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

Archbishop Blase Cupich wipes Gabrielle Marie Mitchell’s head after baptizing her at St. Ailbe Parish on Easter Sunday as Gabrielle’s godmother, Pamela Mitchell holds the 2-month-old. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

Norma Mitchell, 88, was equally thrilled that Cupich joined them for Easter Mass. “It’s such a blessing. I was so moved,” she said.

Cupich said he’s making progress at visiting every parish in the archdiocese.

“I’ve been trying to chip away at the 360 parishes,” Cupich said, noting that he varies where he celebrates Christmas and Easter each year and regularly visits parishes on the weekends.

“I’ve been to almost 65 parishes in the first year and half, that’s not too bad,” he said.

Archbishop Blase Cupich at St. Ailbe on Easter Sunday. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

Archbishop Blase Cupich at St. Ailbe on Easter Sunday. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

Marlee Palmer, 5, looks up after Archbishop Balse Cupich baptized her at St. Ailbe. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

Marlee Palmer, 5, looks up after Archbishop Balse Cupich baptized her at St. Ailbe. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

Some of the women of St. Ailbe Parish after the visit by Archbishop BlasŽe Cupich for the Easter Liturgy. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

Some of the women of St. Ailbe Parish after the visit by Archbishop BlasŽe Cupich for the Easter Liturgy. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times