With Archbishop Blase Cupich being elevated to cardinal over the weekend, hundreds have gathered in Rome to witness the historic event.
One day before the installation, more than 500 with ties to Cupich have gathered as he prepares to join the college of Cardinals, making him the first American bishop to be appointed by Pope Francis.
Cupich will be Chicago’s 7th Cardinal, joining only 120 men in assisting the pope and shaping the direction of the Catholic Church. They are also the electors of the next pope and are considered the “senate of the church.”
The Vatican is expecting Roman Catholics from across the world this weekend for the significant event, which also falls on the same weekend as the end of The Year of Mercy.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is leading a delegation of elected officials and civic leaders, who arrived by bus to their hotel Friday.
Joining the mayor’s delegation is Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sen. Dick Durbin, Congressman Mike Quigley, City Clerk Susana Mendoze and about 300 others. City Hall also invited two high school students and their teachers from Cristo Rey and Chris the King high schools.
“For Catholics, it’s a very, very significant event,” Emanuel said in an exclusive television interview with NBC 5.
Cupich succeeds Cardinal Francis George, who passed away in April 2015 and was considered by the Vatican to be the lead American Catholic Cardinal.
The consistory, or coming together, comes at an interesting time for Americans, just days after the presidential election, with faith and politics at times appearing to collide.
The consistory takes place inside St. Peter's Basilica Saturday morning.