The way I was when I was vocation director before I became a has-been:
After a couple of years of visiting there, he asked me if I would like to be the dean of students for the college level seminarians. I was, of course honored to be asked and said that I would consider it but that he should write a letter to Bishop Raymond Lessard, our then bishop, requesting he release me from the diocese for this ministry.
He did and Bishop Lessard approached me about it and asked if I wanted to go. I had thought about it and did not really have a desire to do this kind of work. So Bishop Lessard wrote him back and indicated that I would not be taking the position.
I often wonder, if there were parallel time, what my life would be like today if I had taken that position.
This is Whispers in the Loggia's take on Chicago's new archbishop:
It is the
most shocking major move the American hierarchy has seen in the last
decade and a half – according to an increasing number of reports and
confirmations, at Roman Noon tomorrow Pope Francis is expected to name Blase Joseph Cupich, the 65 year-old bishop of Spokane, as ninth archbishop of Chicago.
A moderate and keen "conference man" repeatedly nominated for the USCCB
presidency over recent elections, the appointment of the Omaha-born
prelate – a liturgist by training – was first reported by Associated Press, and has now been confirmed by several Whispers sources.
Possessed of a richly varied background – serving by turns as a local
aide at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, rector of the Pontifical
College Josephinum in Columbus and pastor of a parish in his hometown –
in 1999 the apparent archbishop-elect was named as bishop of Rapid
City, one of the nation's smallest, poorest dioceses, comprising the
western half of South Dakota.
Eleven years later, Pope Benedict transferred
Cupich – by then the chair of the US church's child protection efforts –
to Spokane in the wake of the diocese's filing for Chapter 11
bankruptcy due to a crush of some 180 civil suits. Before that move,
however, it is intriguing to note that Cupich was reportedly blocked
from being named archbishop of Milwaukee – an even more prominent
diocese which entered bankruptcy reorganization – in the later stages of
In the Washington State post, the bishop garnered wide notice for advancing a pastoral strategy of mediation to settle the claims as opposed to resorting to legal processes. Just yesterday, Cupich issued a pastoral letter to the diocese to launch Spokane's pastoral plan for the next several years.
All in all, the choice serves to reflect of one of Francis' key emphases
over his 18-month pontificate: that of a church geared toward the
"periphery" as opposed to being locked in its "sacristies." Put another
way, Cupich's experience before landing in the nation's third-largest
diocese speak to another of the Pope's lead threads – a premium on
missionary pastors for a missionary church.
With the move on-deck, Cupich would become the first Chicago archbishop
since George Mundelein in 1916 who was not previously a metropolitan
elsewhere. The architect of the "corporation sole" behemoth that made
the Windy City the most centralized and complex diocesan shop on these
shores, next month marks the 75th anniversary of the death of the first
cardinal, who was an auxiliary of Brooklyn at the time of his
appointment and was subsequently given the use of Illinois license plate "1," a perk his successors enjoyed into the 1970s.
Given the tribal name wakiya ska – "White Thunder" – by Rapid
City's Lakota Nation, Cupich has shown little reluctance for the public
square, albeit in a markedly different style from his predecessor-to-be,
Cardinal Francis George. A regular contributor to the Jesuits' America magazine, among other pieces there, the pick raised eyebrows in the run-up to the 2008 election by raising the specter of racism in at least some of the opposition to Barack Obama. In a 2011 piece, meanwhile, he laid out "12 things" the US bishops had learned from the sex-abuse crisis.
appointment, George will become the first Chicago archbishop in the
diocese's 172-year history to leave office in life. The cardinal's
retirement suite is already said to be prepared in a church-owned
facility near Holy Name Cathedral.
While his successor now arrives as "Francis' man" launched to the fore
of the Stateside bench, the successor will inherit the famous "House of
19 Chimneys" on North State Parkway (above) and alongside Lincoln Park,
where the city's archbishops have resided since the 1890s.
For his part, though the outgoing archbishop floated the idea of selling
the landmark house, citing his tastes as a religious and the
expectations of bishops in the modern church, the cardinal was memorably
shouted down by the descendants of the poor whose "pennies" built the