Cardinal Cupich calls on Catholics to combat violence in first mass since elevation

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CHICAGO -- Cardinal Blase Cupich brought a message of non-violence to Saint Agnes Church in Little Village Sunday, calling for unity during his first mass in Chicago since he was elevated to cardinal.

Speaking in Spanish during the Sunday mass on the West Side, Cupich called on the Catholic community to actively work to combat violence in communities across Chicago

"It felt really nice because lots of us don’t know English or any other language,” said parishioner Andrea Estrada. “He’s showing that he’s of the people, and he’s not someone who’s just in this bubble. He is one of us.”

Cupich was scheduled to attend mass and march for victims of violence in the parish last week, but had to cancel when Pope Francis called him to Rome to be elevated to cardinal. His new title gives Cupich influence over issues facing the church. And as the pastor tending to the nation’s third-largest archdiocese of nearly 2.5 million Catholics, he's concerned with the violence taking young lives on the city’s West and South Sides.

"The message was ‘be together,’ pray and not be looking at all the violence in the community. Take action about being in the community for one another," said parishioner Dolores Casteva.

The cardinal did not take questions from reporters following mass, so as not to distract from the message of peace and non-violence he delivered in his homily.

“This is happening all the time and we want some change; our youth are dying," said parishioner Diana Cervantes.