Cardinal George's ceremonial hat to be hung at Holy Name

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A special ceremony is planned this weekend at Holy Name Cathedral to honor the late Francis Cardinal George, and it involves an unusual piece of history.

On Sunday, Cardinal George's galero - a ceremonial red hat traditionally worn by Catholic Cardinals until the 1960s -- will be hoisted to the ceiling of the church after the "month's mind" mass.

Hats belonging to Chicago's five previous cardinals are already hanging from Holy Name Cathedral's ceiling.

"I didn't think he had one but he did and it had been presented to him as a gift," said Monsignor Dan Mayall, of Holy Name Cathedral. "He never wore it. And, there's no reason to wear it anymore, it's not a part of any ceremony anymore. It's truly a historical, curious thing."

The Sunday ceremony will give the public a rare look at the piece of Catholic tradition.

"There will be some music played, organ music, during that solemn moment the hat will be pulled up from some of our workers up in the attic," Mayall said. "They'll pull it up and attach it. They won't be visible but the hat will certainly be visible as it's being raised."

Cardinal George's galero will hang in a new row from the ceiling and, just like the others, will hang there until it turns to dust - a symbol of human mortality.

Cardinal George died April 17, 2015 at the age of 78.

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