Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Bishop Blase Joseph Cupich: pastor, teacher, scholar

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the Aug. 19, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop Blase Cupich baptized Brittyn Brown at the Easter Vigil this year. Assisting Bishop Cupich was Jim Gervasi. (IR photo by Deacon George Gladfelter, courtesy of the West River Catholic)

Bishop Blase Joseph Cupich was born March 19, 1949, in Omaha, Neb., to Blase and Mary (Mayhan) Cupich. He has eight brothers and sisters.

He entered the seminary after high school and studied at the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., where he graduated in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. That was followed by North American College and the Gregorian University, Rome, where he completed a bachelor’s of sacred theology in 1974 and a master of arts degree in theology in 1975.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Omaha on Aug. 16, 1975.

He returned to school at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he completed both a licentiate and a doctorate in sacramental theology. His dissertation was titled Advent in the Roman Tradition: An Examination and Comparison of the Lectionary readings as Hermeneutical Units in Three Periods.

He served as associate pastor of St. Margaret Mary parish in Omaha and was an instructor at Paul VI High School, Omaha.

From 1978-81 he was chair of the Commission on Youth, and from 1980-81 was an instructor in the Continuing Education for Priests program and Diaconate formation at Omaha’s Creighton University.

He was pastor of St. Mary Parish, Bellevue, Neb., from 1987-89, when he was named President/Rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio – Bishop Skylstad’s alma mater – from 1989-96.

From 1997-98 he was pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha, until being appointed Bishop of Rapid City, S.D., on July 7, 1998. He was ordained and installed Sept. 21, 1998.

Bishop Cupich has served on a number of committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Communications Committee; Advisory Committee; Ad Hoc Committee on Native American Catholics; Bishops’ Committee for Young Adults; Ad Hoc Committee for the 2004 Special Assembly; Consultant, USCCB Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism; Committee on the Liturgy; Committee on the Liturgy Task Force on Liturgy with Children; Ad Hoc Committee on Scripture Translation; Catholic Mutual Relief Society Trustee; Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse; Committee on Domestic Policy; Committee on Vocations (Chair); Committee on Protection of Children and Young People, including service as Chair of that committee; and as at-large representative for the Task Force on Priestly and Religious Vocations.

He also has served on the Board of Trustees of St. Paul Seminary, University of St. Thomas; as a trustee of the Catholic Mutual Relief Society; Episcopal Advisor to the Serra Club; the Board of Directors of the National Pastoral Life Center; a member of the Catholic Extension Society Board of Governors; and as Apostolic Visitator to Seminaries.

In addition to his pastoral and administrative work, Bishop Cupich has published extensively.

He has written two pastoral letters: Deep Waters Springing to Life: A Pastoral Letter to the People of God in Western South Dakota Gathering in Synod to Renew the Life of Faith as Discipleship, Companionship and Mission (2001) and He Comes to Be with Us Because He Knows We Are Dying: A Christmas Message on the Importance of the Eucharist in Our Lives, A Pastoral Letter to the People of God in Western South Dakota in the Year of the Eucharist (2004).

Among his other publications have been three articles in America magazine: “An Unconditional Right to Life” (1/29/07), “Power in the Present; Hope for the Future” (3/23/09), and “Twelve Things the Bishops Have Learned from the Abuse Crisis” (5/17/10) (Editor’s note: see “Bishop Cupich: Abuse crisis has shown clerics victims’ deep hurt,” IR 5/20/10).

“The prospect of my departure from western South Dakota fills me with great sadness,” he said in a statement issued July 1. “Yet, the dominant sentiment in my heart today is one of gratitude and admiration for all the many blessings I have received from the people I have served here. I will remain indebted to the lay women and men, Religious and priests for the rest of my life. To paraphrase St. Paul, ‘every time I think of you, I will give thanks to God.”

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