Faithful honor life of Cardinal George at Holy Name Cathedral

Leah Hope Image
Thursday, April 23, 2015
All-night vigil underway at Holy Name
An all-night vigil is underway for Cardinal George at Holy Name Cathedral from 9 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An interfaith service was held for Francis Cardinal George at Holy Name Cathedral on the second day of scheduled visitations.

A diverse crowd gathered to pay their respects and honor the cardinal's life. Faith leaders from the Greek Orthodox, Presbyterian, Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish communities attended the service. City leaders, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, were also there.

"The work that he did in building bridges of understanding between people of different faiths and no faith at all was just immense," said Imam Kareem Irfan, Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago

"I think that this interreligious observance was a fitting tribute to Cardinal George, who cared so much about Chicagoans of all faiths," said David Inlander, American Jewish Committee.

Faith leaders from around the Chicago area attended Wednesday morning's service, which had a diverse attendance.

"We know that your presence is prompted by a deep personal friendship with a man who shepherded this church for 17 years," said Archbishop Blase Cupich during the service.

While Cardinal George worked on many interfaith projects and issues, for some, the service was personal.

"He's my friend, friends have to have time to say fond farewells and this is a way for me to do it," said Rev. B. Herbert Martin, Progressive Community Church.

"Even when we disagreed on matters that separate the Orthodox world from the Roman Catholic world, we had great respect for those differences and we were able to dialogue in truth, in love and authenticity, and I think that's important," said Bishop Demetrios, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago.

Those from St. Pascal parish feel a personal connection as well. Over 100 arrived from St. Pascal for the public visitation, including some of the parish school's students.

"I was thinking that since Cardinal George came to our school, I was feeling that he remembers our school and wants us to be OK," said Alex Bautista, a St. Pascal's student.

"He was a former student from St. Pascal and the fact that we go to the same school that he used to when he was a kid, it's kind of amazing," said Michelle Fox, a St. Pascal's student.

Cardinal George died Friday at his home after a long battle with cancer. He was 78.

Although Holy Name Cathedral will close for a private prayer vigil at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, its doors will re-open for an all-night vigil from 9 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Thursday. The cathedral will then close at 8 a.m. to prepare for Cardinal George's funeral at noon. Only those with tickets may attend.

Following the Mass, a committal service will be held at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Ill. The cardinal asked to be buried in his family's plot.

Live coverage of the day begins at 11 a.m. Thursday on