Home News Cardinal Cupich celebrates Easter with Grand Crossing church

Cardinal Cupich celebrates Easter with Grand Crossing church


Hundreds gathered for Easter Mass at a South Side church Sunday morning, where Cardinal Blase Cupich preached a resounding message of hope, peace and compassion.

The pews of St. Moses the Black Parish in Grand Crossing, which describes itself as a church “rooted in the Black Catholic tradition,” were packed with parishioners dressed in bright spring hues.

“Allow the grace of Christ to push you into the world, and to make sure that you bring light in those places of darkness, poverty, violence, crime, suffering, illness and proclaim that death will not have a victory,” Cupich said. “Because Christ is risen from the dead, and so are we.”

Throughout the Mass, a choir echoed through the vaulted space. Yellow flowers and fronds adorned the church’s altar. Beams of sunlight streamed through intricate stained glass windows.

“It’s really monumental,” parishioner Michele Moore Parker, 62, said of Cupich’s presence. “It helps give recognition to what a staple we are in the community.”

St. Moses the Black Parish was established in July 2021, merging the now-closed churches of St. Clotilde, St. Columbanus and St. Dorothy. It had been difficult to build unity at first, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Pastoral Associate Jennifer Reid. But this Easter service was a testament to the community’s strength, she said.

“I believe this is the first time I’ve seen the church with so much unity,” Reid said. “Going through all the changes that we’ve gone through, just to see how full our church was today, it really makes my eyes water.”

In his homily, the cardinal emphasized empathy and optimism. He called Easter a “new horizon,” a promise from God that death is relative.

“It’s important for us to make sure that we really believe that we have eternity before us, so that we are going to be less likely to be stingy in our generosity to people,” Cupich said.

After the Eucharist, Matt O’Donnell, the church’s pastor, led the congregation in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for the cardinal. On March 19, Cupich turned 75, the mandatory retirement age set by the Vatican, and submitted his resignation letter to Pope Francis.

Cardinal Blase Cupich blesses people during an Easter Mass on Sunday, March 31, 2024, at St. Moses the Black Parish in Grand Crossing. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Cardinal Blase Cupich blesses people during an Easter Mass on Sunday, March 31, 2024, at St. Moses the Black Parish in Grand Crossing. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

A cake and an array of balloons were set up for Cupich at the front of the building.

“It’s a great blessing to have Cardinal Cupich here with us to celebrate Easter,” O’Donnell said after the service. “People were really excited to welcome him here today.”

Cupich spoke with parishioners at the door as they left, shaking hands and taking photos. An Easter egg hunt followed the Mass, with hundreds of candy-filled treats scattered across the grass.

Ivy Hall, 43, of Bronzeville, watched her 10-year-old daughter and 6-year old son dart across the lawn clutching Easter baskets.

“I’m hoping that my 10-year-old left something for the smaller kids,” Hall said with a laugh.

Across the sidewalk sat 77-year-old Edwin Leaner, enjoying a piece of birthday cake. The longtime Grand Crossing resident has been coming to the parish his entire life.

“I’ve seen all six cardinals,” Leaner said. “It was beautiful today, because (Cupich) chose to come to us.”

Robin Miles, 70, spent much of his childhood in the parish. It’s been a grounding place throughout his life — now, Easter is a time to reflect, he added.

“I believe this is holy ground,” Miles said, sitting in a rear pew. “Right here, this is holy ground.”

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