CHICAGO (CBS) — Archbishop Blase Cupich toured Cook County Jail on Tuesday, meeting with inmates, and offering words of encouragement and hope.

Sheriff Tom Dart led Cupich on the tour of the facility, and highlighted the “disproportionate amount of Cook County’s poor, sick, vulnerable and disenfranchised individuals” who are being held there.

“This truly was, for many of them, the greatest thing that’s ever happened to them; and they were incredibly moved,” he said.

Cupich met individually with some detainees.

“A lot of them came up and asked me to sign their bibles, or to write a message to a mother, or a fiancée, or someone; to say that I pray for them, or offer a blessing. I would say there was a good number of people who did that,” he said.

The archbishop noted, with a smile, “it is a best-seller.”

He said the church can advocate for swifter justice, and said it was eye-opening to know how many detainees have mental illnesses. Cupich also encouraged friends and family to visit those behind bars.

Dart has frequently called Cook County Jail the nation’s largest mental health institution, as nearly one third of the jail’s 9,000 inmates suffer from mental health issues.