At his installation Mass last Tuesday, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich was served at the altar by four women and four men, which reportedly was his request of the Archdiocese’s Office of Divine Worship.
One of those four female acolytes, Beth Knobbe, recently shared a reflection on her experience of serving in the liturgy.
What an honor to serve at the Installation Mass of Chicago’s Ninth Archbishop, Blase Cupich and to wish the best to Francis Cardinal George as he begins a much deserved retirement after 17 years. There are so many stories to share!
Knobbe noted the spirit of welcome found in Holy Name Cathedral that day:
On the day the Church installed a new Archbishop, “welcome” was an overriding theme! There was an atmosphere of welcome and inclusion that I hope to hold onto for a long time. To be honest, being welcoming and inclusive is not something that the Church has always done well, and I think we still have a long way to go. There are moments from this day that I will truly treasure.
And Knobbe felt truly welcome in her role:
Women serving on the altar is not something you see every day – and certainly not at the installation of a bishop! If anyone objected to our presence, no one said it. Not with their words or their body language. As a matter of fact, I heard “thank you” a lot – thank you for being here, thank you for serving, thank you for all that you do. I heard this from priests and laypeople alike.
Getting up close to the new Archbishop offered the opportunity for Knobbe to notice a few personal details that gave a glimpse into Cupich’s pastoral style and demeanor:
I also took a good, long look at Bishop Cupich’s hands. Hands carry a history, hands tell a story. My grandma had hands that were strong enough to carry a crate of calf bottles and knuckles big enough to knead bread dough. Bishop Cupich has hands that are soft yet well-worn with age and wisdom. Hands that have surely baptized babies and anointed the elderly. Hands that will touch a lot of lives here in Chicago. Christina and I also both noted how he looked us in the eye during the rite. He has these piercing blue eyes, set deep into his face – inviting people in and reading everything around him.
Check out Beth Knobbe’s entire essay, “Reflections on the Installation Mass” at her blog.