Blase Cupich

Chicagoans Head to Rome for Cardinal-Elect Blase Cupich's Installation

As Mayor Rahm Emanuel heads to Rome this week for the installation of Cardinal-elect Blase Cupich, he'll be joined by several other Chicagoans.

Governor Bruce Rauner will be part of Emanuel's delegation to Rome, according to a spokesperson, who confirmed that both Rauner and his wife Diana were invited by Emanuel and his wife Amy Rule to witness the consistory.

The delegation also includes 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis and 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor, City Hall sources told NBC 5.

The mayor has also reached out to donors, asking them to sponsor the trip for Chicago teens who attend Catholic high schools so they can witness the historic event in person.

"The Holy Father could have picked multiple, well Los Angeles, other cities," Emanuel said. "This is a statement of the impact the Archbishop has already had in Chicago and I want to make sure that the kids who go to parochial schools see this elevation and experience it."

About 400 people total are expected to be in Rome for the ceremony on Saturday. Many of them are Catholic pilgrims who will also witness the closing of the Holy Doors the following Sunday, ending Pope Francis' Year of Mercy.

Cupich, who has led the Chicago Archdiocese since September 2014, will receive the "red hat," or zuchetto, that is worn by a small, prestigious group of cardinals. 17 cardinals total will be elevated Saturday, including Cupich and two other Americans - Archbishop of Indianapolis Joseph Tobin and Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell.

Cupich will be the 7th cardinal from Chicago, a traditional cardinal seat as seen with previous Cardinals George, Bernardin and Cody.

Pope Francis has now appointed 40 percent of the 120 cardinals from around the world who shape the church's policy and elect the next Pope.

NBC5's Mary Ann Ahern will report on Cardinal-elect Cupich's elevation live from Rome beginning Thursday. 

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