Archbishop blesses cardinal's grave stone at Des Plaines cemetery
Blessing ceremony held in Des Plaines cemetery
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."