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updated: 4/21/2016 8:00 PM

Archbishop blesses cardinal's grave stone at Des Plaines cemetery

Blessing ceremony held in Des Plaines cemetery

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  • Video: Ledger stone dedicated

  • One year after the death of Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop Blase Cupich blesses the new ledger stone marking the cardinal's grave Thursday at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.

      One year after the death of Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop Blase Cupich blesses the new ledger stone marking the cardinal's grave Thursday at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Following a blessing ceremony Thursday, attendees view the new ledger stone marking Cardinal Francis George's grave at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.

      Following a blessing ceremony Thursday, attendees view the new ledger stone marking Cardinal Francis George's grave at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The new ledger stone marking Cardinal Francis George's grave includes his coat of arms in Italian mosaic and titles he held.

      The new ledger stone marking Cardinal Francis George's grave includes his coat of arms in Italian mosaic and titles he held.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • In 2009, Cardinal Francis George, right, blessed a new interment chapel and office complex at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines. It was George's wish to be buried at his family burial plot at All Saints.

    In 2009, Cardinal Francis George, right, blessed a new interment chapel and office complex at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines. It was George's wish to be buried at his family burial plot at All Saints.
    Courtesy of Catholic New World, 2009

 
 

The final resting place for most of Chicago's Catholic archbishops is at the Bishops' Mausoleum at Mount Carmel Cemetery in West suburban Hillside.

But Cardinal Francis George, the only native Chicagoan to serve as the city's archbishop, is buried alongside family members at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.

It's where George came as a boy to pray at his grandmother's gravesite. Now, he rests beside her and his parents.

A year after the cardinal's death, a new memorial ledger stone marking his grave was dedicated and blessed Thursday by his successor, Archbishop Blase Cupich, during a small ceremony attended by family, friends and the public.

"He is a Chicagoan, and was very proud of that, but I also think it sends a message that his vocation sprung up in that family," Cupich said.

"It was nourished by his parents and in that family setting."

Officials with Catholic Cemeteries say in 2012, as the cardinal was dealing with the return of bladder cancer, he informed them that he wanted to be buried next to family members at All Saints. He died April 17, 2015, at the age of 78.

George personally approved the design for his grave marker, a gray granite stone covering the full length of where he is buried. It contains his coat of arms in Italian mosaic and the motto "To Christ Be Glory In The Church."

The marker also lists the titles he held through his life, showing the path George took to become the city's eighth archbishop.

"He was a missionary. He never sent out to be a cardinal," said Colleen Dolan, the former longtime archdiocese communications director and personal friend. "He joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which are a missionary order. That was his goal. The fact he wound up being a bishop was a shock, then an archbishop, on top of being a cardinal.

"He wasn't looking for grandeur. He certainly was a very, very humble person."

Dolan said George often came to visit and pray at his family's gravesites. As he battled cancer, he also regularly asked the faithful to pray for him.

Cupich said those prayers should continue.

The crowd at the event is "reflective of the countless number of people who still hold the cardinal in their fond thoughts," Cupich said. "And even though we print his name in stone, his name is engraved in the hearts of many people."

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