By David Lewellen
The NACC’s annual Mass to remember the members who have died within the past year was also memorable for its setting and its guest celebrant.
In the soaring space of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, led the NACC in worship, delivering a well-received homily and a few jokes. It was the first time in memory that a cardinal has addressed the NACC.
Preaching on the text of Jesus’ departure from the disciples, Cupich said that their being left behind in Jerusalem is “a metaphor for all the things in life that seem disastrous or catastrophic, that we think we need to flee and go to another place.”
He told of eliciting the painful story of a woman from Eastern Europe, speaking for the first time about why she emigrated to America — because her father told her, “You’re no good to me.”
“That woman was my grandmother,” he said, to murmurs of surprise. She built a good life for herself in America, “and she could see that those words were not the total of her life, even though they came from her father, because she had a loving Father.”
Everyone, he said, has “Jerusalem moments” in their life, but they must be endured, because with the promise of Pentecost, “the story isn’t over yet. Give courage to the people in your ministry not to flee Jerusalem, but to wait for our own Father to keep his promise.”