CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a Christmas Day Tradition.
“Hi Molly. How are you? Good to see you. Is that yours all by yourself, that equipment?”
Cardinal Blase Cupich greeted little patients as he made his way around the cardiac floor at Lurie Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day.
His first stop was to Kristin and Brenden Etue’s daughter’s room.
“This is Livia?”
Nine-month-old Livia has been at Lurie since Sept. 18. She’s had one open heart surgery and is awaiting another one.
“She has Charge Syndrome. We found out when she was born. She’s the light of our lives. We’re hoping to take her home soon. Hoping this is her first and last Christmas in the hospital,” said Kristin Etue.
Cupich presented each family with a cross blessed by the Pope.
“We’re very lucky that he was able to come here and give our girl a special blessing,” Etue said. “This is pretty big. It’s the biggest thing we could hope for when she’s going through this and has all this coming up that someone special like the Cardinal giving her that blessing, especially on the holiday is so special.”
“I think these children like to have visitors anytime because there’s a lot of routine in their life and a lot of time where they just don’t have space filled with other things. So to have somebody come visit them, especially at Christmas when children are filled with a sense of wonder and awe this season and they know they are missing out on something,” said Cardinal Cupich.
The Archbishop said he looks forward to this each year. After all, he said, Christmas is a day of children.
“Hopefully my presence here, but yours (the media) will assure them that they are not alone,” he said.
Cupich said his message for the new year is simple: “I think visiting children on the feats of Christmas should give us a direction for the coming year. Children are very easy to love. We have to keep in mind that there are children who feel unloved in the world today. If we can have the same affection and care to all God’s people, my hope would be that we would have a better living environment today where people don’t feel left behind,” he said.
“I am concerned as you know with violence in the city with the growing inequity in earnings, the poverty levels that seem to be very gnawing. Also the difficulties people suffer because of racism and bigotry. The more we look at a child, we’re going to be reminded there is value in every human life and nobody should be left behind and that’s my hope for the New Year. By coming here today, we keep before the general population that there are children who are sick and ailing and maybe everybody should hug their own child and thank God for the gift of health that their child has.”
Before coming to the hospital, he celebrated mass for detainees at the Cook County Jail.