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Chicago cardinal bolsters programs to break city’s cycle of violence

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich April 4 announced a new initiative to increase the work of anti-violence programs in parishes and schools and those run by Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Catholic Charities and Kolbe House, the archdiocese’s jail ministry.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago holds a letter from Pope Francis to the people of Chicago during an April 4 news conference where he announced an anti-violence initiative to increase the capacity and reach of current programs of the Chicago Archdiocese that address the root causes of violence. Pictured at right is Drew Hines, director of the Peace Corner Youth Center.  (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago holds a letter from Pope Francis to the people of Chicago during an April 4 news conference where he announced an anti-violence initiative to increase the capacity and reach of current programs of the Chicago Archdiocese that address the root causes of violence. Pictured at right is Drew Hines, director of the Peace Corner Youth Center. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

The Chicago archdiocese also will seek out partnerships to increase programs that will help break the cycle of violence.

The cardinal announced the initiatives on the 49th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

With a $250,000 personal donation, Cardinal Cupich said the archdiocese will create the Instruments of Peace Venture Philanthropy Fund that will provide funds for both new and existing neighborhood-based anti-violence programs. The money comes from donations he’s received to aid his personal charitable efforts.

In 2018, the archdiocese also will hold the first U.S. meeting of Scholas Occurrentes, a program active in 100 countries that brings young people together to meet and problem-solve. The gathering will involve young people from Cook and Lake counties.

The announcements came during a news conference at the Peace Corner Youth Center, which serves young people in Chicago’s violence-prone Austin neighborhood. As of April 5, 773 people were shot in Chicago in 2017 and there were 151 homicides, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Cardinal Cupich also invited people to join him on a Walk for Peace through the city’s Englewood neighborhood on Good Friday, April 14. Like Austin, Englewood is a neighborhood that sees frequent shootings and crime. During the walk, participants will take part in the Stations of the Cross and pause along the way to remember those who died by violence. Along the route, participants will read the names of those killed in Chicago since January.

The cardinal said he shared these plans with Pope Francis when he met him in Rome recently. Pope Francis was moved by the news and drafted a letter to the people of Chicago, which the cardinal read at the news conference.

“I assure you of my support for the commitment you and many other local leaders are making to promote nonviolence as a way of life and a path to people in Chicago,” the letter stated.

The pope said he will be praying for those who will participate in the Good Friday walk.

“As I make my own Way of the Cross in Rome that day, I will accompany you in prayer, as well as all those who walk with you and who have suffered violence in the city,” the letter said.

Cardinal Cupich’s announcement of new initiatives follows a yearlong process he initiated to learn about the scope of anti-violence programs already going on in the archdiocese.

While no program will completely eradicate violence from the city, the cardinal said, “just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something. It’s going to take one person at a time.”

During his process of learning about the efforts in the archdiocese, Cardinal Cupich said he heard of many ways parishes and groups want to respond but lack the funding to do more. The Instruments of Peace Venture Philanthropy Fund is for them.

“I see this as seed money for these local initiatives,” he said. “There really is no niche fund to support their efforts.”

He stressed the need for partnerships in these efforts.

“I can’t do it alone. I need the help of others,” Cardinal Cupich said.

Duriga is editor of the Chicago Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

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U.S. Catholic, Lutheran bishops mark 500th anniversary of Reformation

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — Catholic and Lutheran bishops gathered in Chicago March 2 for a prayer service commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and to release a statement on the event. Read more »

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How American Pharoah ‘attended’ a Mass

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Catholic News Service

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Horse farms. World-renowned racetracks. A nursery. A tobacco farm. A horse stud farm. An equine hospital. Read more »

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Nation, world need gifts Latinos have to offer, says Archbishop Gomez

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — Latino Catholics have many gifts and values to benefit the church and society and the time is now to embrace them and share them.

“America needs our gifts. Our world needs our gifts,” said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, at the opening of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders annual conference held Aug. 18-21 in downtown Chicago. Read more »

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Soup kitchen sister wins on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’

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Catholic News Service

 

CHICAGO — It looked like prayer and the Lord were on Franciscan Sister Alicia Torres’ side as she won a special Thanksgiving competition on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” which aired Nov. 9.

On the show, Sister Alicia, 30, a Franciscan of the Eucharist of Chicago who ministers at Chicago’s Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, competed against three other chefs who, like herself, work in soup kitchens. Read more »

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All have wounds of heart only Jesus, his church can heal, says Cardinal Tagle at World Meeting of Families

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Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — All people carry wounds of the heart that only Jesus can heal and his body of Christ, the church, can be agents of that healing. Read more »

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Shave, haircut and grappa — Chicago barber made sure Cardinal George didn’t look like a ‘bum’

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — Alfredo Fricano is probably one of the only people who could get away with telling Cardinal Francis E. George he looked like a “bum.”

Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich talks to Cardinal Francis E. George's barber, Alfredo Fricaso, in front of Holy Name Cathedral April 17, prior to announcing the death of the cardinal, who retired as archbishop of Chicago in 2014. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich talks to Cardinal Francis E. George’s barber, Alfredo Fricaso, in front of Holy Name Cathedral April 17, prior to announcing the death of the cardinal, who retired as archbishop of Chicago in 2014. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Once the cardinal’s longtime barber, who his clients just call Alfredo, saw him on TV and noticed he needed a haircut so he called the residence.

“I said, ‘Your eminence, you look like a bum.’ He said, ‘Who is this?’ And I said, ‘Your hairstylist.’ I said, ‘Your hair, you need a haircut. You want to ruin my business?’” Alfredo recalled in his Italian accent, gesturing with his hands.

The cardinal laughed and the next day he was in for a haircut. The two men often joked with each other.

Alfredo said the cardinal was a good man with a great sense of humor who patronized his shop at State and Chicago avenues for 15 years.

When the cardinal’s health really declined Alfredo started going to the residence every two weeks to trim the cardinal’s hair and give him a shave and a shoulder massage because his muscles were all cramped up.

“Matter of fact, I was there three days ago. Sunday morning I did him,” Alfredo said the afternoon of Cardinal George’s death April 17. “He looked great. Really. We talked and everything. Every time I come in there I give him a hug.”

Cardinal George, who retired as Chicago’s archbishop in 2014, always asked Alfredo if there was anything he could do for him. “I said, ‘Your Eminence, all you can do for me is say a little prayer.’”

Throughout the friendship, Alfredo refused Cardinal George’s offer for payment.

“I said, ‘Your Eminence, you insult me. It’s an honor to have you come in my establishment.’” Alfredo wanted just one thing from the cardinal. “Say a little prayer for me,” he would tell him.

Once Cardinal George confided that he missed having homemade grappa, an Italian brandy, which he often had during his time living in Rome.

“I says, ‘You got it.’’ I live in Highland Park near Highwood and I know everybody who makes homemade grappa,” Alfredo told the Catholic New World, newspaper of the Chicago Archdiocese.

“I give him a bottle and he just love it.” The cardinal told him he would have a little before bed and “sleep like a baby.”

“I think he was a great man,” Alfredo said. “To me, he was one of the nicest men I’ve ever met.”

Duriga is editor of the Catholic New World, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

 

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Cardinal George says he’s receiving palliative care

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — Doctors have exhausted all options in Cardinal Francis E. George’s cancer treatment and have moved on to palliative care.

The cardinal shared that information with news media during a Jan. 30 news conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, following a luncheon where he received the Knights of Columbus’ highest honor, the Gaudium et Spes Award.

Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, speaks to media Jan. 30 in Chicago after receiving the Gaudium et Spes Award from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.  (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, speaks to media Jan. 30 in Chicago after receiving the Gaudium et Spes Award from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

“They’ve run out of tricks in the bag, if you like,” said Cardinal George, 78, Chicago’s retired archbishop.

He’s doing physical therapy because his muscles atrophied during chemotherapy, when he was exhausted and unable to get around much, he said. That situation is typical when undergoing chemotherapy, and especially with polio survivors, such as himself, because their muscles are overworked, he said.

“But basically, I’m in the hands of God, as we all are in some fashion,” he said, adding that he hopes to eventually get off the crutches he’s been using since October.

“In some ways, this particular disease, in my case, has not been following the usual pattern in the past. It probably won’t follow the usual pattern in the future,” the cardinal told reporters.

Like anyone with a terminal illness, he has good days and bad days. If he has enough stamina, the cardinal said, he planned to attend the consistory of cardinals in mid-February, but hadn’t made up his mind.

“Rome is not an easy city for people who are disabled in the best of times,” Cardinal George said.

Since his retirement last November, he has been keeping regular appointments and hearing confessions at Holy Name Cathedral on Thursdays when he’s available. Hearing confessions was one of the things he said he looked forward to most in retirement.

Prior to the news conference, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson presented Cardinal George with the Gaudium et Spes Award. The award was established in 1992 and is named for the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, or “Gaudium et Spes.”

Blessed Teresa of Kolkata was its first recipient. Others include Cardinal John O’Connor of New York and L’Arche founder Jean Vanier.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, who is supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, read the award’s citation, which said in part: “Both in his brilliant speeches, homilies, letters and books, and in the brave witness to the faith that he has shown to the world — in sickness and in health — Cardinal George has proven over and over again one of the leading voices in the Catholic Church in the United States.”

The award comes with a $100,000 gift. Cardinal George said he was giving $60,000 of it to the archdiocese’s “To Teach Who Christ Is” campaign scholarship fund, which benefits children in Catholic schools. The remaining $40,000 will be divided and donated to various charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Cardinal George has been a member of the Knights since 1991 and has twice delivered the keynote at the order’s national convention.

In his remarks upon receiving the award, Cardinal George told those gathered: “This award is for you as well as it is for me because you share the joys and the hopes, the anxieties and the griefs of all of the people whom you know and all of the people whom you don’t know but you know you are called to love because God is love,” he said. “And we are made in his image and likeness.”

 

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Bishop Cupich named to succeed Cardinal George as Chicago archbishop

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago now knows who will succeed Cardinal Francis E. George.

Pope Francis has named Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Wash., as archbishop of Chicago, succeeding Cardinal Francis E. George. The appointment was announced Sept. 20. Bishop Cupich is pictured in a 2011 photo. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

Pope Francis has named Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Wash., as archbishop of Chicago, succeeding Cardinal Francis E. George. The appointment was announced Sept. 20. Bishop Cupich is pictured in a 2011 photo. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington, as the ninth archbishop of Chicago.

The appointment was announced Sept. 20 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Archbishop Cupich, 65, will be installed in Chicago Nov. 18 during a Mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.

Cardinal George is 77, two years past the age when bishops are required by canon law to turn in their resignation to the pope. He retains the office of archbishop until his successor’s installation.

The cardinal was first diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and had a recurrence of cancer in 2012. In August, the archdiocese announced that he was participating in a clinical research trial for a new cancer drug.

His health concerns stepped up the process of searching for his successor as archbishop of Chicago.

Cardinal George introduced Archbishop Cupich (pronounced “Soo-pich”) during a news conference held at the Archbishop Quigley Pastor Center in Chicago the day the appointment was announced.

“Bishop Cupich is well prepared for his new responsibilities and brings to them a deep faith, a quick intelligence, personal commitment and varied pastoral experiences,” Cardinal George said.

The new archbishop is no stranger to Chicago having served on the board of Catholic Extension since 2009. The Chicago-based organization supports the work and ministries of U.S. mission dioceses.

Archbishop Cupich said his appointment “humbles and encourages” him and his priority as the new archbishop is to be attentive to the way God is working through the people in the archdiocese.

He learned of the appointment 10 days before the announcement and said he felt overwhelmed and surprised when Archbishop Vigano called him.

Some in the media describe Archbishop Cupich as a moderate but when asked about the description, he said, “Labels are hard for anybody to live up to, one way or another. I just try to be myself and I try to learn from great people. You’ve had great people here in this archdiocese pastor you. And I’m following a great man.”

When asked if his appointment, the first major appointment made by Pope Francis in the United States, sends a message about the pontiff’s agenda, Archbishop Cupich said no.

“I think the Holy Father is a pastoral man. I think that his priority is to send a bishop, not a message,” he said.

That Archbishop Cupich’s new flock is a lot larger than his present flock is not lost on him.

“This is an enormous upgrade, so to speak,” Archbishop Cupich told the media. “We had a hundred thousand Catholics in eastern Washington and I had 27,000 Catholics in South Dakota.” There are 2.2 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago, which is the third largest archdiocese in the nation.

When pressed on what tone he will bring to the archdiocese, the new archbishop said: “I think it’s really important to keep in mind that it’s not my church, it’s Chris’’s church. I have to be attentive to his voice in the lives of the people and the word of God and the way that he communicates to all of us through the pointers that he gives.”

In an interview with the Catholic New World following the new conference, Archbishop Cupich thanked Catholics in archdiocese for their warm welcome and said he looks forward to visiting parishes and communities.

“I really am sincere in saying I know that I can only do this if I have their support and prayers. I want to be very pronounced in asking, begging for their prayers,” he told the archdiocesan newspaper.

Archbishop Cupich did his doctoral work on Scripture readings used in the liturgy and that remains a part of his spiritual nourishment, he said.

“I find that, not just the word of God in the Bible, but the convergence of how the texts are put together in the liturgy is a source of my own spiritual life.”

Born March 19, 1949, in Omaha, Nebraska, he is one of nine children and the grandson of Croatian immigrants. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1975. He was named bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1998. In 2010, he was appointed to Spokane. He speaks Spanish and lives at the seminary there.

He has degrees from what is now the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and The Catholic University of America in Washington.

He served as secretary at the apostolic nunciature in Washington and was pastor of two parishes in Omaha. On the national level, he currently chairs the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe and is former chair of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Following Archbishop Cupich’s remarks at the Sept. 20 news conference, Cardinal Francis George told the media he is grateful to Pope Francis for accepting his resignation and is relieved.

“I’ve been a bishop for many years and before that I was a religious superior. And in a sense, in those jobs, as you can imagine, you are hostage to what hundreds even thousands of people do over which you have no control,” he said. Every morning he would check the news to find out what happened that he was accountable for. “I have to confess, it will be a relief not to read the paper with that vision in mind but just to get information.”

When reminded that he has frequently said it was his goal to retire and meet his successor, something not accomplished but any other archbishop of Chicago since all died in office, Cardinal George pumped his fist in the air and smiled.

He said the appointment is also a relief to him because of his health problems.

“Others who have retired I’ve asked them how it went and they’ve said, ‘Well, it’s strange. One moment you’re at the center of everything and the next moment you’re not.’ You have to adjust to that,” he said.

Cardinal George is the first native Chicagoan to serve as archbishop of Chicago. Born in 1937, he attended Catholic schools in Illinois before entering the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1957. He was ordained a priest Dec. 21, 1963. He was his order’’s vicar general in Rome from 1974 to 1986.

He was bishop of Yakima, Washington, from 1990 to 1996 and archbishop of Portland in Oregon for less than a year before being Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Chicago in 1997.

 

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Chicago releases files about priests accused of abusing minors

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago Jan. 15 released more than 6,000 pages of documents related to cases involving 30 priests accused of sexual abuse.

In the majority of the cases, the abuse occurred before 1988 and all were referred to civil authorities.

The documents were given to Jeffrey Anderson, an attorney for abuse victims. Anderson is expected to make the files public the week of Jan. 26.

Fourteen of the 30 priests have died and all but two have been laicized. The documents reveal the story of the priests, the abuse, information the archdiocese had and what action they took.

The archdiocese released the documents as part of a mediation agreement signed in 2006. In the eight years since, lawyers for the victims, priests and the archdiocese culled through the documents to remove anything that would violate the privacy of victims. Nothing was removed relating the identity of the priests or their supervisors, said John O’Malley, director of legal services for the archdiocese, during a news conference at the Archbishop Quigley Center.

“The information is upsetting. The information is painful. It’s difficult to read, even without the benefit of hindsight,” O’Malley said. “We believe however that this step is an important step in the process of transparency.”

On its website, www.archchicago.org, the archdiocese lists the names of 65 priests with substantiated accusations of abuse. O’Malley said the archdiocese is working to create a process to release the documents related to all 65 priests. Over a 25-year period, the archdiocese has paid out approximately $100 million in settlements. Those funds come from the sale of property owned by the archdiocese.

During the news conference, Auxiliary Bishop Francis J. Kane, vicar general, apologized to victims on behalf of the archdiocese and said that “what we are doing now, I hope that it will bring healing and hope to people that have been affected by these terrible sins and crimes.”

“I want to assure the public that no priest with even one substantiated accusation of child abuse against him serves in public ministry in the archdiocese,” Bishop Kane said.

Priests who belong to religious communities are not included in the archdiocese’s list since their records belong to their own communities.

“Any priest who is now assigned to Chicago, we have the assurance of their provincial or superior that they are people who have gone through background checks, that they are safe to be assigned to a ministry in Chicago,” Bishop Kane said.

However, if the archdiocese received an allegation against a religious priest, it would be turned over to the authorities, O’Malley added.

The documents released Jan. 15 will show that the archdiocese did make some mistakes in these cases, Bishop Kane said.

“I don’t think that any of them were intended to promote or allow child abuse to continue. How we treated people back then is different than we do today,” he said.

And the opinion from medical professionals that sexual abusers can go through therapy and resume ministry under supervision has also changed, the bishop said.

“We’ve strengthened our procedures to be sure that we don’t allow anyone to slip through the cracks if we can help it,” he said.

In 1992, the archdiocese adopted formal policies for handling clergy sexual abuse of children. It was one of the first dioceses in the United States to do so.

“We believe that handling these matters in a way that is compassionate toward victims and is focused on finding and telling the truth is the only way to approach this,” said Jan Slattery, director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, which deals with allegations of sexual abuse.

“Because the compulsion to abuse is present in 4 percent of the general male population, about the same percentage you see in the priest population, I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of these cases,” Slattery told the media. “But we work every day to stop it.”

When an accusation is made today, it is reported to the authorities, referred to the archdiocese’s Office Child Abuse Investigations and Review and the person is offered outreach services. If the accusation is made against a priest, he is asked to step aside until an independent investigation is completed by an outside firm. The investigation results are then turned over to an independent review board, which makes a recommendation to Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George.

Since 2003, the office has trained 160,000 priests, deacons, lay employees and volunteers to recognize and prevent abuse and conducted background checks on these groups. More than 200,000 children have been trained to “pay attention when something doesn’t feel right,” report it to an adult and get out of the situation, Slattery said.

The archdiocese encourages anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee, to come forward. It has posted complete information about reporting sexual abuse at www.archchicago.org/departments/protection/protection.shtm.

 

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