Cardinal George to be buried at All Saints in Des Plaines
Like many Chicago Catholics of a certain age, Cardinal Francis George accompanied his parents on trips to suburban cemeteries to visit and pray for family members at their final resting places.
Years later when George rose to become the eighth archbishop of Chicago, he came to his parents' gravesite at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.
Tradition holds that Chicago archbishops are interred in the Bishops' Mausoleum at Mount Carmel Cemetery in West suburban Hillside. However, it may not be surprising that George, the first native Chicagoan to serve as archbishop, will lie next to his parents at his family's simple four-grave plot.
The cardinal's wishes were revealed after his death Friday, following a long battle with cancer.
"He was a down-to-earth person. He was for the average person," said Julia McCarthy, of Chicago, who came to visit the George family plot Saturday afternoon. She and her brother Michael were paying a regular visit to their parents' grave sites at All Saints on River Road when they decided to seek out the cardinal's burial plot.
"I was always so fond of the cardinal," McCarthy said. "He meant so much to us."
A handful of other visitors came throughout the day Saturday to pay their respects at the cardinal's family headstone, a modest light gray marker, inscribed with the word "George" and a simple cross. Three yellow flower bunches sat in front of it.
Cemetery grounds workers were cutting grass throughout the eastern portion of the cemetery and trimming around gravestones near the cardinal's burial place.
His family's plot is Lot 86, Block 1, Section 7, located in what is the oldest part of All Saints, which opened in 1923. Rows of other, larger family monuments line the cemetery grounds.
An official at the cemetery office said cemetery and archdiocese leaders were making arrangements Saturday for the cardinal's interment.
While the cardinal's funeral Mass at noon Thursday at Holy Name Cathedral is attendance by ticket only, archdiocese officials say the committal service at All Saints will be open to the public.
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 at All Saints.
Of the eight Chicago archbishops, five are interred at the Hillside mausoleum, a rectangular-shaped stone building, constructed more than a century ago. Atop its dome sits a statue of the Archangel Gabriel, with horn in hand, and inscribed above the entrance to the interior chapel is the Latin word "Resurrecturis."
Cardinal George Mundelein and Cardinal Albert Meyer are buried on the grounds of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.
While archbishops have the option to be entombed in the Bishops' Mausoleum, it isn't a requirement, cemetery officials say.
George will be buried next to his father, Francis. In 1984, as vicar general of his order, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, George arranged for the burial of his father there. A year before, his mother Julia was buried, officials said.
The family purchased the plot in 1941 upon the death of his maternal grandmother, Lucy McCarthy.
In 2009, George was at the cemetery to bless the new interment chapel and office complex on the west side of River Road. He dedicated the Immaculate Heart of Mary Garden Mausoleum in 2001.