Cardinal George always emphasized the importance of relationships, with Jesus Christ and with each other, and he lived that out whenever he entered a crowded room and said hello to as many people as he could. He was brilliant and knowledgeable about so many subjects, but that personal touch and his warm smile are the things I will miss the most. He showed us by word and deed what it means to live life in Christ, and I feel privileged to have known him. Barbara M. Croker
Francis Cardinal George was a caring, strong and humble man that will be missed in Chicago greatly. The few times I had the honor to meet him, he always had a kind word to match his genuine smile.
My 1 year old daughter is named Addison Frances. Frances in honor of her great grandmother and my favorite archbishop!
Thank you Francis Cardinal George for your service! May you rest in peace.
The Knights of Columbus were honored when Cardinal George came out to celebrate the first annual Blue Mass. We were very happy to see his energy and his gracious personality refect after mass at the reception. He imparted his blessing and made that day special for all. From the Men and their families of Albert Cardinal Meyer Council 5751 out thanks to our leader and friend.
In 1999, Cardinal George hosted a gathering of over 150 clergy and community members at a ceremony to commemorate the signing of a new “Covenant for Peace in Action.” This concise and carefully considered list of 10 pledges was written on a set of four foot high arched tablets designed after the Ten Commandments. The Covenant was signed by 140 Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders, rabbis, pastors, bishops, imams, sheiks and other community religious leaders and practitioners. These faith leaders committed to several actions including preaching about and marching against violence, as well as performing direct outreach to Chicago’s highest risk youth.
Over the course of the next 10 years Cardinal George would lead marches through Chicago communities in the north, west and south side neighborhoods most affected by violence when shootings occurred. When the walks were several miles long he would begin limping as childhood polio limited him, but always joined at the end of the march, where he would speak to the community. When the march was shorter, he would walk the distance.
Over the same period he would talk to high risk youth one-on-one and in groups and also led them in prayer. On the southwest side he negotiated a truce between gang leaders as they kneeled in prayer in the basement of a private home in the neighborhood. As board chair of the newly-formed CeaseFire program in Chicago, he would attend monthly meetings, surprising other attendees by humbly sitting at the table like any other member, opening up the file and discussing the neighborhood situations and the data which was of great interest and importance to him.
I had been fortunate to meet Cardinal George – it had taken over two years of persistence and help from his advisors at the Archdiocese to arrange our first meeting. Scheduled for twenty minutes, he allowed the conversation to last almost three hours and agreed to serve as Chair of our new program. Astoundingly, at the conclusion of the meeting, he quietly asked if “I would have time to just come over for dinner.” We had both spent time working in some of the same African countries and returned to Chicago about the same time. He told me he saw the work of reducing violence as “transformation” – for individuals and for Chicago. .
After our initial meeting in 1999, I was honored to spend many hours with Cardinal George at his home and in the neighborhoods of Chicago, as well as at meetings, planning for the Covenant for Peace in Action ceremonies, as well as at the multiple CeaseFire events he held at the residence for community and civic leaders between 2000 and 2007. Cardinal George also co-hosted annual CeaseFire award ceremonies for about seven years recognizing the hard work of some of the most notable community, political and law enforcement leaders, outreach workers, violence interrupters, clergy, funders, as well as high risk youth who were making changes in their own lives. Cardinal George‘s presence brought a great deal of pride and many wonderful memories for all who participated.
Some of my most memorable times with Cardinal George include accompanying him on a visit to a newly quadriplegic former gang leader in the hospital. Although most thought this man recently released from prison had changed, his past reputation led others to ambush his girlfriend and him while they were walking their dog in a park. Cardinal George and I visited him in the circumstances of a highly guarded hospital ward. Cardinal George prayed at the bedside as he did in all too many situations.
I had the occasion of personally visiting Cardinal George at his home after his initial diagnosis and surgery. We discussed the medical and other aspects of his situation. I did get a sense that Cardinal George never lost his heart for people. He shared with me that his most joyous times came when he was out with the people, leading marches to highlight youth violence or talking with high-risk youth in Chicago. Because of his prominent position within the church and Chicago, he was frequently cloistered and surrounded by staff and officiants. But I knew him as a caring friend and priest. He was an unbelievable intellectual. And he had a heart and warmth for people which radiated from the depths of his soul. His faith was so certain, it moved me and continues to cause me endless hours of contemplation.
Gary Slutkin, M.D., Founder & Executive Director of Cure Violence (formerly CeaseFire)
Cardinal George at St Catherine Laboure Parish in Glenview for the 50th Anniversary celebration, with our Pastor, Father Maina – The Crusaders for Christ!
Cardinal George at St John Brebeuf in Niles for Catechist Certification. Father Maina from St Catherine Laboure, along with two new Catechists Ken Gunther and Janice Seipp, accompanied by Pat Klein, the Religious Education Coordinator.
Cardinal George at St Catherine Laboure in Glenview for 50th Anniversary Mass
I Had The Pleasure Meeting Cardinal George In New York City Arriving At The Cardinals Dinner (Photo By William Regan)
He certainly brought help and hope to the poor – both the poor materially and the poor in spirit.
Cardinal George was one of the first catalysts for my vocation to priesthood. I felt the call from God at my First Holy Communion, something the Cardinal and I immediately bonded over, for he too felt the call at his First Holy Communion. I wrote to him in 5th grade, explaining my deep desire to be a priest, how I would walk to Mass everyday in the summer and be an altar server and sacristan, and I was not expecting a response, but a week later, he replied personally and said that God is trying to get my attention during the Mass and I should pray for my vocation, and he will too. His Eminence was the first to tell me of the Quigley Scholar\’s Program, after Quigley Prep closed, this program was formed for high school men thinking of priesthood, and due to his guidance, I was a member all four years of high school. When the Cardinal visited my parish for our 50th anniversary in September of 2013, I was only in seminary at St. Joseph College Seminary for about 3 weeks and he said he noticed the deepened faith and spirituality in me during those three weeks. The Cardinal and I remained pen pals all the way up until I entered college seminary, then I was honored to serve various Masses with him and was able to see him periodically. The Cardinal taught me by example and advice what it means to be a good priest. He was like a grandfather figure that I could count on when I needed prayers or help with whatever. Cardinal George was a great leader, a great priest, and a great friend. The Archdiocese of Chicago was very blessed to have his as our shepherd for 17 years. He was a rock in the storms of the sexual abuse crisis, he was a voice during the Obamacare proposals. He always remained humble, and his example has brushed off onto those who knew him well. His Eminence was one of the very first priests I remember learning from, along with my now pastor emeritus. If I did not write to the Cardinal in October 2005, I probably would not be finishing my sophomore year of college seminary 10 years later. I owe a great deal to this great man, this ordinary person, who was called by God to lead an extraordinary life, and he followed that call no matter where it went. I have learned a great deal from Cardinal George, and now it is time i put it into practice. Though I mourn his passing, I celebrate and rejoice in his new life with Christ in heaven for eternity. Rest with the angels, your Eminence! -Andy Matijevic
The life of Cardinal Francis George was one of dedication and commitment to the Church he loved. As a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, he had a particular interest in outreach to the poor and to the multicultural church. He was inspired by this passion in his ministry as Bishop of Yakima, Portland and, finally, Chicago. Cardinal George’s concern for interreligious dialogue and his outreach to the Jewish and Muslim communities will long be remembered as a hallmark of his tenure as Archbishop of Chicago. Because of his passion about evangelization and mission, CTU was happy to award Cardinal George with an honorary doctorate in theology in 2014 during a special symposium on mission. Finally, he was a pastor who “always showed up,” keeping a calendar of visits and talks that would exhaust a person half his age. May this good and dedicated man of God rest in peace.
Mark R. Francis, C.S.V., President, Catholic Theological Union
I was privileged to serve as president of Catholic Theological Union for all but one year of Cardinal Francis George’s tenure as Archbishop of Chicago. He visited CTU numerous times over the course of his time as Archbishop; one area of particular interest to Cardinal George was interreligious dialogue, especially with the Jewish and Muslim communities. Over the years as president of CTU and being involved in a number of archdiocesan programs and activities, I had many occasions to meet with Cardinal George and to observe him up close. He was a man of great integrity, of deep religious devotion, and had an honest, straightforward manner. If he had a concern about something, he would let you know it directly. He was supportive when that was called for. On more than one occasion, such as the national visitation of seminaries conducted by the Vatican, Cardinal George expressed his support for CTU in a very salutary way. When one of our faculty members who was a religious sister came under some unfounded criticism, Cardinal George called me to express his support for her and later he talked to her directly to reassure her. In looking back over the many years he served as Archbishop, I consider it a privilege and blessing to have known him and to have had him as the Archbishop of this local church of Chicago.
Donald Senior, C.P., President Emeritus, Catholic Theological Union
“Life is eternal and love is immortal and death is only a horizon and
horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight.” Bede Jarrett, OP 1881-1934
The DePaul University community is saddened by the death of Cardinal George. Whether it was because he was a former university professor or that he had taken courses in DePaul’s music school in the 1960s, the cardinal always seemed relaxed and at home with our students. He rarely refused an invitation to say mass for them, lecture in classes or speak at major conferences. His presence to our students meant a great deal to them over the years, and we will always be grateful to him for it. May the Lord bless him abundantly.
Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University
REST IN PEACE: The St. Joseph High School community joins the faithful of the Archdiocese of Chicago in mourning the loss of our Archbishop-emeritus, Francis Cardinal George. We thank God for his years of pastoral leadership. May he rest in peace.
St. Joseph High School, Westchester
The entire St. Patrick community sadly mourns the death of Francis Cardinal George. The prayers of St. Patrick High School go with you as you meet the Lord.
St. Patrick High School, Chicago
A man of peace, tenacity and courage has been called home to the Lord. Our beloved Cardinal George passed away Friday April 18 at 10:45 a.m. at the Residence. Cardinal George was a respected leader among the bishops of the United States. He served the Church universal as a Cardinal and offered his counsel and support to three Popes and their collaborators in the Roman congregations. In this way, he contributed to the governance of the Church worldwide. Here in Chicago, the Cardinal visited every corner of the Archdiocese, talking with the faithful and bringing kindness to every interaction. He pursued an overfull schedule– always choosing the church over his own comfort and the people over his own needs. Most recently, we saw his bravery first hand as he faced the increasing challenges brought about by cancer. Let us heed his example and be a little more brave, a little more steadfast and a lot more loving. This is the surest way to honor his life and celebrate his return to the presence of God. Let us pray that God will bring this good and faithful servant into the fullness of the kingdom.
Notre Dame High School for Girls, Chicago
All of us at Leo High School are deeply saddened by the death of Cardinal Francis George. He was a man of God, a towering intellect and a great friend to our school. The kids put aside their normal Friday restlessness and were visibly moved when we announced his passing today. Cardinal George will remain in our prayers.
President Dan McGrath
“St. Pascal’s Favorite Son
May he rest in peace”
St. Pascal Parish
Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago 1937-2015
“At some point, Christ will question me: ‘What have you done with my people? Are they holier because of your ministry? Are they more generous, more loving toward others?’
In short, you are my legacy.”
Our Lady of the Woods Parish, let us pray for Francis Cardinal George.
“A man of peace, tenacity and courage has been called home to the Lord.
Our beloved Cardinal George passed away at the residence.”
Our Lady of the Woods, Orland Park
St. Michael Parish, Orland Park
It is with heavy hearts that we join all of Chicago and the Universal Church in mourning the death of His Eminence Francis Cardinal George who has been called home to Eternal Life. A good and faithful priest the Cardinal served the Church as a compassionate, spiritual leader and leading theologian for decades. Old St. Pat’s was blessed to have welcomed Cardinal George to celebrate many events and Masses with our community throughout his 17 year tenure as our Archbishop. We are grateful for his support and tireless energy which supported the mission of Old St. Patrick’s Church. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and we pray that Cardinal George may rest in peace with the Risen Lord.
Fr. Tom Hurley
Pastor, Old St. Patrick’s
With sorrow we note the passing of our beloved Archbishop emeritus. Eternal rest grant to him O Lord.
St. Eugene Parish, Chicago
We ask all parishioners to pray for the repose of the soul of our beloved Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago. May he rest in eternal peace with our Lord.
Holy Rosary Church, Chicago
The public visitation for Cardinal George at Holy Name Cathedral is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The full schedule is linked to this article. The parish will provide bus service on Wednesday, departing St. Bernadette at 4:00 p.m., for anyone interested in attending the vigil. Please call the rectory if you plan on using the bus. There is no charge, but we will accept freewill donations.
St. Bernadette Parish, Evergreen Park
It is with much sorrow that we announce to our fellow parishioners, friends that Cardinal George has passed. We ask that you keep the Cardinal and his family in your prayers.
St. Michael the Archangel, South Shore
I will miss you Cardinal
Remembering Cardinal George
St. Barnabas will host a special prayer service this Wednesday, April 22nd at 7pm, in remembrance of Cardinal George. Read Archbishop Blase Cupich’s remarks on the passing of Cardinal George, as well as Pope Francis’ condolences.
St. Barnabas Parish, Chicago
Francis Cardinal George
Friday, April 17, 2015
Eternal rest grant unto him, oh Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon him,
and may the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Church of St. Mary, Lake Forest
I am from Toronto. However, I have a deep love and respect to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Remember seeing Cardinal Francis George on a documentary. That started my love for the Cardinal. I watched the installation of Archbishop Blase Cupich live online. Remembered seeing Card. Francis George in crutches and Bishop Blase Cupich assisting him. On April 17th 2015, opened my facebook page and saw the news of the death of Cardinal Francis George. I was saddened by the news. May Cardinal Francis George rest in peace.
I appreciate the contributions the late Cardinal Francis George made to the church in Chicago and in the United States.
He was a prayerful and intelligent man — and he addressed me by name when I saw him at various Catholic events over the years, which was a nice thing to do.
Matt C. Abbott
He inspired youth not only in Chicago but around the world, including myself, to fall in love with the beauty and tradition of our faith. Thank you for all your service especially in the Restoration of the Sacred through the Canons of St. John Cantius. Your leadership in the pro-life cause not only inspired many, but saved lives. Your Eminence, thank you and may the angelic entourage accompany your soul, let it lift you to the heights of heaven, let the song of the redeemed guide it, right up to the presence and majesty of Almighty God. -Dawid, Hamburg, Germany
Cardinal George was a kind and quiet man filled with faith, love, courage and dedication. He presented an award to me in 2001. Through the years we have met at meetings and social gatherings. One of his last kind gestures was to send me a thank you for thinking of him and keeping him in prayer. The thank you arrived at my office the day after he passed away. I will cherish the letter he sent.
Our Lady of Victory
For me personally, the loss is something difficult to describe as Cardinal George was one who listened, directed, corrected, encouraged, and confronted but always gave hope to this tiny community of men dedicated to the restoration of the sacred.
The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius is the first men’s community founded in the Archdiocese of Chicago. We are a living legacy of this shepherd of souls.
“I want you to grow, I want this to succeed. Live your constitutions. Be men of prayer,” were short directives he would often repeat to me.
Cardinal George will always be remembered for his annual visit with our community. The men whom he ordained will always have a special bond to him as they offer Mass, hear confessions, and make available the other sacraments to restore broken souls.
Cardinal George is now placed in our daily prayers for the deceased and in our Perpetual Masses. Rest in peace my spiritual father. May the Angels lead him into Paradise.
Cardinal George was a friend of mine since 2006, and I always held him in great esteem because he was a priest for his people. He did not let his infirmities affect his ministry. I remember every time I looked him in the eye I saw nothing but peace and tranquility, he was a man who was already halfway to heaven. I\’d never seen that in anyone else before or since. My heart is crushed that he is gone, but I also know he now rests in the company of God, having met his creator face to face, as he longed to do in his last days. Pray for us Eminence, ask the Son of God to watch over us and bring us closer to Him. May you rest peacefully in the Lord. We look forward to greeting you again one day in paradise.
Cardinal George was good about attending interfaith events like the Jerusalem Lecture here in Chicago and would walk around casually greeting people. My Jewish friends always liked him.
RoseMary Calamia Mahany
I was an ecumenical colleague of Cardinal George’s during my ministry as a judicatory executive in Chicago . As a woman among all male colleagues, I was grateful for the kindness and respect Cardinal George gave me. He was a charming man of faith and I was honored to know him.
Rev. Dr. Jane Fisler Hoffman
Although i am not Catholic, i met Cardinal George twice at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. He was always very friendly & talkative. Someone I was always comfortable with.
I had just suffered a severe seizure after many years of being free of them. The Cardinal sent me a very nice letter, saying he was pleased that I had kept him informed and was doing better. He and his staff replied twice to other electronic correspondence. He was a very astute, scholarly personality, and most important, a very caring person. I cried after watching his funeral.
I am an alumni of the Lay Ministry Program Called & Gifted Class of 2007. I was so nervous when this photo was taken trying to remember the procedures we were given, where to look, which hand to accept the certificate with and which hand to shake with the Cardinal that I thought I heard him say something to me, but could not make out what he said. Later, as we gathered outside for a group photo, I went to him and asked him if he said something to me and to please repeat it (my hearing was declining by this time anyway). He asked which parish I belonged to and when I told him St. Mary of Vernon, he said \”Ah, yes. I thought you looked familiar. I remember you.\” Now I do know he was an intellectual giant with a great memory, but I will never for get that moment at the end of two years of intense spiritual awakening for me. I had just been Confirmed in 2004 at the age of 52 after being gone from the church for 40+ years. I was so honored and you could argue he was just being pastoral and nice, but I just know how he made me feel; grateful and humbled. He was a very special man in an impossible job that took the time to really see you as a person of God. I shall miss him. Rest in the peace and the love of the Lord, dear Cardinal George and thank you for all your dedication and service to our archdiocese and the universal Church.
As a priest of a religious order (SCJ, Priests of the Sacred Heart) who has returned to the Windy City now for the fifth time, my appreciation for this amazing archdiocese and for the complex man who served as archbishop continues to grow stronger.
During my visits to the Cathedral this week, I sought to plunge down , far beyond my superficial impressions fed by nonstop media comments, searching: who was this Man of God, Francis Cardinal George?
And I found him.
After the service on Tuesday night, I decided to pass by the bier and pay my last respects. What disquieted me were his enormous, black, ugly, heavy, thick shoes, splayed out at odd angles and nearly hanging out over the casket. I wondered, perturbed: \”couldn\’t they have gotten him a nice pair of shoes?\” (As many of you already know; priests lay in state in full vestments, the whole body visible, with head toward the altar, unlike the case with lay people).
Then, suddenly, I realized: they were orthopedic shoes. They summarized for me the life of a man who, at 14, was rejected for the priesthood in Chicago because polio had crippled his feet. He had to travel 300 miles to find a group that would accept him. And now, he had returned.
Did he return to lead Chicago in vengeful glee, determined to \”show up\” those who had rejected him? No. Every painful step he took in those ugly shoes reminded him that we are here to share both the sadness of Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday.
Impulsively, as I reached the bier, I stooped and kissed both of those clumsy plain black shoes. Our feet are designed to anchor us to the ground and keep us humble; and In that moment I was truly thankful for those black clogs which kept this man, brilliant in mind, feisty in spirit, anchored to the ground, the real world in whifch we live.
Thank you, Lord.
Timothy Gray, SCJ
I met Cardinal George when I was a senior at Notre Dame High School for boys in Niles. He was there to bless our new science wing and I was so thrilled to meet this extraordinary man. I will always remember the exact date my photo with him was taken, September 10, 2001, the day before 9/11.
Dr. Michael Peplow
Cardinal Francis George has done so much for our archdiocese and especially for our schools. Our choir remembers meeting him at his mansion last year when they went there to sing. The Academy of St. Benedict the African will remember his warm hugs and handshakes. Eternal rest Cardinal George and you will be missed!!!
I first met the Cardinal during my 1st visit to Chicago back in April 2011. He celebrated mass at the beautiful Holy Name Cathedral. He gave a really powerful & inspiring homily at the mass. Afterwards I had the opportunity to meet His Eminence on the front steps of the Cathedral, introduced myself, and told him that I came all the way from CT. He gave me a big smile and blessed me! I will never forget how nice he truly was to an out-of-towner like me. He definitely was a holy man sent to do God\’s work here on Earth. May the Lord reward greatly in the Kingdom of Heaven! RIP Cardinal George! You will never before forgotten. Prayers go out to his family and Fr. Flens as well.
On Friday, April 17, we heard the sad news of the death of our beloved Cardinal Francis George. As we mourn his passing, let us turn to our Loving God and pray for the repose of his soul. Cardinal George gave himself tirelessly in Service to Almighty God and His Church as a dedicated Religious, Priest, Bishop and Cardinal. His love for the Church and for the poor was the inspiration that led Cardinal George to desire a Catholic Presence here at Our Lady of the Angels so that the poor could have their spiritual and material needs tended to by the Catholic Church. As busy as he was, Cardinal George always made time to visit and offer his encouragement and support to the work of the Mission here at Our Lady of The Angels.
Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that He has gone to prepare a place for us in His Father’s house in the Kingdom of Heaven. Our hope is that our dear friend Cardinal George has been welcomed into the Kingdom of God and is enjoying the fullness of love and peace in the presence of the Lord in the company of all the angels and saints!
Please join us in praying for the repose of the soul of our friend and constant supporter, Cardinal George. May his soul and the souls of all of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Fr. Bob and the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago
Marriage and Family Ministries Staff
Marriage and Family Ministries Staff
Kim “Karen” Haggerty
Marriage and Family Ministries Staff