CHICAGO (CBS) — Cardinal Blaze Cupich is leading the annual Saint Nicholas Ball Friday evening, days before he’s set to travel to Puerto Rico at the request of Pope Francis.
The Cardinal, who has assisted in resettling 900 Hurricane Maria evacuees in Chicago, is bringing a $40,000 check.
“In all of this, we are reassuring the people of Puerto Rico, as they struggle to maintain their dignity amid 18th-century condition following the hurricanes, that their neighbors to the North care about them and we pray for them,” Cupich said.
Catholic Charities will also be providing resources, such as diapers and chainsaws, to the recovery effort.
Pope Francis asked Cardinal Cupich, who heads the Archdiocese of Chicago, to make the trip before Christmas, so Puerto Rico will know it is not forgotten this holiday season.
An announcement from the Archdiocese of Chicago said, “Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Cupich to express his deep concern, as a father would have for his sons and daughters suffering in his family, and to let the people and pastors know that their situation weighs heavily on him.”
More than two months have passed since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Some progress has been made, but homes on the island are still in shambles. Nearly half the island is without power and fresh water is in short supply — access to basic necessities is limited.
He is scheduled to arrive Sunday night, and will visit each of Puerto Rico’s four bishops. CBS 2’s Erin Kennedy is traveling to Puerto Rico with the Cardinal.