Chicago cardinal visits Cook County Jail for Christmas Mass

Since 2014, when he was put in as Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich has celebrated Christmas Mass for people in custody at Cook County Jail — besides in 2020 due to the pandemic.

More than 60 males from the jail’s Division 11, donned in beige and sporting blue surgical face masks, listened attentively as Cupich led them in prayer Sunday morning. After the second studying, in Spanish, Cupich spoke.

“Society should never treat people as though they can judge their whole life because of the things that they’ve done wrong. And nor should you have that judgment about your life, or anyone else,” Cupich instructed the inmates. “There’s more to us, there’s goodness in each one of us, that sometimes is overshadowed by the mistakes we make. Christmas is a time to remember those good qualities in our lives.”

Cupich had visited Lurie Children’s Hospital on Saturday to hope and speak with sufferers and their households who couldn’t be dwelling for the vacations. During this go to, he stated, he got here to a realization.

Deacon Pablo Perez gives out communion to a man in Cook County Jail during a morning Christmas Mass Sunday, where Cardinal Blase Cupich gave a homily.
Deacon Tim McCormick gives out communion to an incarcerated individual during Christmas mass at the Cook County Jail Sunday morning.

A father — who wasn’t Catholic — requested Cupich to hope along with his daughter. Then the person requested Cupich if he knew why he’d invited him over to hope. Cupich stated he didn’t know.

“Whenever someone visits a child, it’s a blessing. I wanted to give you this blessing,” the daddy instructed him, Cupich stated.

“So what I want to tell you today, is that coming here is not something that I’m doing for you. But you are a reminder to me that the difference between humanity is not that great, that all of us fail,” Cupich instructed the inmates.

A refrain of “Merry Christmas” from attendees marked the tip of Cupich’s homily. During the signal of peace, inmates patted one another on the again and shared fist bumps. Violin notes led the Communion tune, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

“By being here with them, they offer me something and a reminder that, let’s face it, if our circumstances were different in life, we probably wouldn’t be too much different from the folks who are here. And so to let them know that they’re part of humanity,” Cupich instructed the Tribune.

After Christmas Mass, Cupich was slated to have lunch with a couple of inmates who’re a part of a program known as “Recipe for Change,” which supplies Cook County Jail inmates with culinary instruction, job abilities coaching and mentorship with a view to put together them for employment upon reentry to society.

But Chef Bruno Abate — this system’s founder — was sick and the occasion needed to be canceled. So the cardinal’s plans modified.

“I’m gonna go home and take a nap because I had Midnight Mass” at Holy Name Cathedral, Cupich stated. “I got to bed around two o’clock and got up at seven. So I probably need a little more sleep.”

In crimson shirts, chaplains from Kolbe House additionally participated within the Christmas Mass. Kolbe House is the Archdiocese of Chicago’s jail ministry of “compassion and presence” for these affected by incarceration.

Incarcerated individuals read a prayer during morning Christmas mass at Cook County Jail on Sunday.
Cardinal Blase Cupich holds up bread for communion during morning Christmas Mass at Cook County Jail Sunday.

“There needs to be a way forward of healing and hope and reconciliation with the community and restoration, so that they can be the good people that they’re called to be, the good citizens that many want to be. So our our mission is to accompany people on that journey,” stated MaryClare Birmingham, government director of Kolbe House.

Birmingham echoed Cupich’s sentiment that errors don’t outline individuals. “Every person is more than the worst thing they’ve ever done,” she stated.

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