(CBS) — Major reorganization and downsizing is underway at the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Archbishop Blase Cupich, in office for barely four months, has moved quickly to completely reshape the Archdiocese of Chicago under totally new leadership.READ MORE: Good Samaritan's Car Stolen As He Helps Victims Of Three-Car Crash
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports Cupich is bringing in his own people, dealing with financial reality in keeping with the tone being set by Pope Francis.
He’s replaced some, extended an offer of early retirement made by Cardinal George to many others in top management, and is even shaking up seminaries. At the same time, he is inviting supporters to an event, which may or may not happen.
Almost immediately after his installation, the archbishop moved to replace his vicar general, his CEO, accepted the resignation of his school superintendent, and now his moderator of the curia, in charge of 800 priests.
But inside the new chancery offices, the recently remodeled former seminary, where Cupich was announced as the new archbishop last fall, the changes will soon be even more extreme.
Eighty-eight longtime employees, about a quarter of the staff, have been offered early retirement deals.
The shake-up even extends to college seminaries, like St. Joseph at Loyola, where the top three educators have just been reassigned.READ MORE: Security Guard Shoots Man Who Pulled Gun When Asked To Pay For Snacks At Englewood Gas Station
But while Cupich shares Pope Francis’ philosophy of a simple, prayerful life, he is apparently not following the Pope’s lead on an upcoming event.
An invitation was recently sent to 450 supporters of the Chicago Archdiocese to join Archbishop Cupich for a $5,000-per-person pilgrimage to attend the presentation of his pallium, by Pope Francis.
At this point it’s not clear whether there will be a public presentation. Pope Francis, moving to discourage costly ceremonial trips, back in January, declared the formal presentation of the pallium will from now on take place in archbishops’ home diocese, a far cry from the Vatican pomp and circumstance of the past.
Back in 1997, Cardinal George received his pallium, the lambswool vestment presented to metropolitan archbishops, from Pope John Paul II.
More than 100 Chicago Catholics accompanied him on that pilgrimage. But now, such trips are no longer the rule, as Pope Francis, who as far back as 2001, when he was made a Cardinal, urged local parishioners to donate to the poor in Buenos Aires, rather than fly to see the ceremony at the Vatican.
While the pilgrimage appears to be at odds with the spirit, if not the letter of Pope Francis’ philosophy, the archdiocese says it was put together in response to parishioners asking how they could be a part of the event.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Hot Weekend With Storms For Father's Day
No church money is being spent, but none is going to charity, either.