CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich was elevated to the rank of cardinal by Pope Francis, who announced his appointment Sunday in St. Peter’s Square.
He is among 17 new cardinals who will receive their red hats in Rome on Nov. 19 at the Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican City. Two others from the U.S. were elevated, including Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin and Dallas Bishop Kevin Ferrell.
“The news this morning that Pope Francis has named me to the College of Cardinals is both humbling and encouraging,” the Archbishop of Chicago said in a statement Sunday. “I offer my best wishes to the other Cardinals-elect, especially Kevin Farrell and Joseph Tobin, and I look forward to joining with them and the other cardinals as we work together with the Holy Father for the good of the Church.”
This appointment means Cupich will have a vote in future papal elections.
It comes just two years after he was appointed head of the Chicago archdiocese, the third-largest in the nation.
“When Pope Francis appointed me Archbishop of Chicago more than two years ago, the people of the archdiocese welcomed me as a friend and brother and I committed wholeheartedly to serve them,” Cupich said. “The role of Cardinal brings new responsibilities, but with your prayers and help, we will continue the task we have begun of renewing the Church in the archdiocese and preparing it to thrive in the decades ahead.”
In July, Pope Francis appointed Cupich to the Congregation for Bishops. The group selects new bishops for the Catholic Church and their recommendations go to the pope for his final approval. It’s considered one of the most influential congregations in the Roman Curia, which is the administrative body of the Catholic Church.
Back then, there was speculation around the Vatican that the next group of Cardinals could be named by Pope Francis this year.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a congratulatory statement later Sunday morning, adding, “In just a short time serving our city he has made a tremendous impact as a voice for the voiceless in the name of inclusion – for those living in poverty and on the margins of society, for immigrants and new Americans, and for children and families across the city and around the world. He is a light of inspiration for all of us, and a blessing to the City of Chicago.”