ROME (CBS) — Amid the ceremonies at the Vatican for Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich he paused to remember his predecessor.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has more on the lasting legacy of Francis Cardinal George.
Chicagoans gathered at Basilica of San Bartolomeo all’Isola, located on an island in the Tiber River in Rome, to remember the late Francis Cardinal George.
It was the church Cardinal George called home when in Rome. Above the main entrance, his coat of arms and the pope’s. He had many friends there, including the pastor.
“He was close to us and knew many of the activities we were doing with the poor people,” said Fr. Angelo Romano.
The Chicagoans wrapping up their pilgrimage and celebration of Archbishop Cupich receiving his pallium, dedicated today to the memory of his predecessor.
“You saw it with the outpouring of the peoples’ expression and prayer,” Cupich said. “We wanted to pray for him and to take a photo. I want to send the photo to his sister and let her know that we did pray for him. I think that she will be touched by that.”
But the archbishop told Levine that while they came there to pay tribute to the late cardinal, they left with a sense and commitment to the parish mission.
“They are doing a lot of service for the poor, they are advocates against the death penalty, there is a lot of social justice activity happening here,” Cupich said.
Pilgrims traveling with Archbishop Cupich also got a special look at one of Rome’s largest churches: St. Paul’s.
“It’s as large as four American football fields and holds twelve thousand people,” said Fr. Samuel Pusaturi.
Fr. Pusaturi, a priest who’s spent time in Chicago showed us a quiet corner where we saw the last few popes and empty spaces for those to come. were honored.
“There’s about twenty spaces left and the tradition is that when the spaces are all full, the world will come to an end,” Fr. Pusaturi said.
There’s about 20 spaces left and the tradition is when the spaces are all full, the world comes to an end. Empty space for next? And 20 more,that’s when the earth disappears.
Archbishop Cupich is wrapping up a weeklong visit, seeing old friends and their seeing him in his new position.
“Old friends and so on,” Cupich said. “At first I don’t know how read the situation because maybe they think I’ve changed because the position but after a few minutes we go back into the same conversations we had before.”
Archbishop Cupich finds himself very much in demand now, but one invitation he couldn’t turn down came from relatives in Croatia, who he’ll spend a few days with before returning to Chicago.