CHICAGO (CBS) — Cardinal Blase Cupich made his first public appearance Friday since being elevated to the rank of cardinal last month.

The speech at the 53rd annual Chicago Leadership Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue was one of his first as a cardinal, and he was addressing an audience he normally doesn’t draw, as he appealed to Chicago business leaders to help curb violence in the city.

The event featured songs about current events worldwide.

The purpose of the annual breakfast is to bring together nearly 700 business and civic leaders to discuss and pray over the state of affairs in Chicago.

Cupich was this year’s keynote speaker, and he discussed challenging the city’s youth, and forming partnerships amid Chicago’s faith and economic sectors.

The cardinal hit the crowd with a sobering number: more than 700 murders in Chicago this year, with nearly a month left to go.

“There’s no easy fix. There are systemic problems that we can address, but we should not be overwhelmed by them. I think by coming together at an event like this, we realize that we do share the same aspirations,” he said.

Cupich said religious and business leaders don’t need to carry all the weight; he said he hopes labor groups and elected officials were paying attention as well.