Sneed: Pope Francis was invited to visit Chicago. Will he accept the invite?
By Michael Sneed January 24, 2014 7:40PM
Pope Francis listens to Rio de Janeiro Archbishop Orani Tempesta upon his arrival to the World Youth Day closing Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, July 28, 2013. | AP Photo
Updated: February 27, 2014 6:47AM
The pope scope . . .
Is Chicago a papal destination next year?
◆ Translation: Pope Francis, who meets with President Barack Obama in Rome in March, is sending signals of a possible trip to the United States in fall of 2015.
◆ To wit: Although the Catholic press has only mentioned Philadelphia and New York as possible papal visits, Sneed is told Cardinal George had already extended an invitation.
“The cardinal extended a personal invitation to Pope Francis immediately after his selection as pope last year,” said Colleen Dolan, the Cardinal’s spokesman.
“Cardinal George invited the pope during their official papal greeting by stating: ‘You’ve taken my name [Francis], so why not let us welcome you to Chicago,” said Dolan.
◆ Side note: The last time Chicago had a papal visit was 1979, when Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in Grant Park during the tenure of Mayor Jane Byrne.
The popular new pontiff, who is garnering world headlines with his “Who am I to judge?” message, is hoping to attend the World Meeting of Families, according to an article in the National Catholic Reporter.
The article also suggested the pope may address the United Nations in New York during that time.
◆ Buck shot? Will George, who has been criticized for the transfers of priests suspected of sex abuse to different parishes during his tenure, still be here next year?
◆ Backshot: George, who submitted his compulsory resignation letter when he turned 75 two years ago, is still awaiting word from the Vatican whether his resignation will be accepted.
Pope scope II . . .
Unmarried French President Francois Hollande, who has been caught in a salacious love triangle, visited the pope Friday.
As noted by the press, Hollande arrived in a limousine at the Vatican — rather than the motorbike he used to secretly visit a French actress behind his consort’s back.
“I’m happy to be welcomed here,” said Hollande, who gave Pope Francis a biography of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.
“He’s your patron saint too,” the pope quipped.
There ya go.
The Rodman report . . .
In case you were wondering what gifts to North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un got Dennis Rodman in trouble with the feds for violating strict sanctions: It included a few bottles of his “Bad A--” vodka brand.
Marshmallow musings . . .
Ummmm. James Middleton, the entrepreneurial brother of Kate Middleton — the Duchess of Cambridge — is now producing handmade marshmallows with photos printed on them that can be delivered to your door.
◆ What-what? Middleton claims his marshmallow company is named Boomf! because that’s the sound a marshmallow makes “when it falls through your letterbox.”
◆ What ho? Imagine. . . all this and more in the DNA of Kate’s son, Prince George, the future king of England.
Mars musings. . .
Actor William “Star Trek” Shatner, the legendary Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, tweeted this message during a NASA press conference about a mysterious Mars rock not captured in rover photos weeks before.
◆ Quoth Shatner: “Are you going to cover the alien rock throwers?”
Gone . . .
. . . but not forgotten: It has been over nine years since Monsignor Ignatius “Iggy” McDermott, the saint of Skid Row, who once ministered to thousands of Chicagoans addicted to drugs and alcohol, died.
◆ Sadly, Jack Whalen, a man who devoted himself to McDermott’s legacy at Haymarket House — a nationally-recognized substance abuse treatment center — died last week at the age of 84. Father Mac, a legendary sports-a-holic, just added a winner to his scoreboard.
Sneedlings . . .
City Department of Aviation chief Rosemarie Andolino must be smiling: O’Hare International Airport was named best airport in North America for the tenth straight year in Global Traveler magazine’s reader poll . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Chris Chelios, 52; Dean Jones, 83, and Joan Esposito, ageless . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Eddie Van Halen, 59; Anne Jeffreys, 91, and Ellen DeGeneres, 56.