Cupich presides over Holy Thursday mass in Chicago
CHICAGO - To commemorate Holy Thursday, Cardinal Blase Cupich presided over the Mass of the Lord's Supper at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.
This year, the ceremony carried particularly special meaning for those involved.
The washing of the feet ritual takes place annually the Thursday before Easter, but this year, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago welcomed refugees to participate.
"It symbolizes humility, it symbolizes service, and the love for our neighbor," said Marilu Gonzalez, regional operations director at St. Gall Catholic Church.
On the symbolic evening, hundreds of parishioners filled the pews of Holy Name Cathedral, located at Superior and State.
"We begin Holy Thursday by re-enacting what most people recognize as the Last Supper," said Gonzalez.
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In a re-enactment of Jesus Christ washing the feet of his 12 apostles, a dozen men and women were welcomed to the altar where Cardinal Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, performed the ritual.
"It was a surreal moment, it felt like the Lord himself, Jesus, blessing me," said Cristian Garcia.
Garcia, a seminarian, took part in the ritual, along with 11 refugees who arrived to the city last summer.
"By us washing the feet of these asylum seekers, it shows our closeness to them, our support of them, and our love for them," said Fr. Andy Matijevic, Holy Name Cathedral.
Some are from Venezuela while others are from Colombia, like Keila Puentes and her 13-year-old son, Juan Pablo, who were moved to tears by the sacred act.
"She said that she was deeply moved, that she felt it in her heart, she was sickly all morning long, but is grateful she was able to persevere and be a part of it," said a translator for Keila Puentes. "She gives thanks to God and the Blessed Mother who helped her along the way."
Cardinal Cupich will also be presiding over Holy Name Cathedral’s Good Friday mass – the Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord – at 5:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago – which helped coordinate this year’s Holy Thursday participants – has been supporting refugees throughout Cook and Lake Counties since their arrival in Chicago last summer.