Catholic Press Association E Edition Page 2

Page 2 The Catholic Journalist July/August 2015 Executive Director: Timothy M. Walter twalter@catholicpress.org Editor: Bob Zyskowski zyskowskir@archspm.org Subscriptions The Catholic Journalist (USPS# 014-088, ISSN# 0008-8129) is published monthly, except the month of August, by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, 205 West Monroe Street, Suite 470, Chicago, IL 60606. Nonprofit Periodical postage paid at Chicago, IL 60606 and additional mailing offices. Postmaster, send changes to: Catholic Press Association 205 West Monroe, Ste. 470, Chicago, IL 60606. Ph: 312.380.6789; Fax: 312.361.0256. THE CATHOLIC JOURNALIST The Cardinal George we knew at the Catholic New World By Joyce Duriga At the recent Catholic Media Conference I accepted the Bishop John England Award on behalf of our publisher, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. But he never knew he received the award because we received the letter informing us on the day he died. People the world over knew Cardinal Francis George as the intellectual or the public figure. Here are some insights I shared at the conference about the Cardinal George we knew at the Catholic New World: He was a prayerful man and carried around a piece of paper and pen in his pocket so he could write down the names of those he was asked to pray for. And he would remember the request. In the in- stances of special cases, he would follow up, some- times even years later. He lived almost everyday in some kind of pain or discomfort, first from childhood polio and later from the cancer that would take his life. But despite a punishing schedule and pain, the cardinal would stay at events to the very end, shaking hands and greet- ing people. Then he would head to the kitchens, greeting the folks there. Even toward the end of his life when he was weak, he would sit in a chair and greet everyone. He had a quick and hearty sense of humor. For example, when the power went out during a Mass at a local Catholic university, without miss- ing a beat, he looked over at the president and said, Didn't you pay the bill?" Our photo editor Karen Callaway named her dog Frances (it's a girl) after Cardinal George and Pope Francis. When I told him, he looked at me and asked, "Should I be flattered?" I said, "Oh, yes, Cardinal. Absolutely" He laughed and said, "Ok. Tell her thank you very much." After he returned from participating in the conclave that elected Pope Francis he sat down with me for an interview. He wasn't feeling well that day and was hungry so we brought him a Ziploc bag with M&Ms in it. We went through the interview and while he's talking about what the cardinals were discussing before the conclave and all the important ins and outs he's chomping on M&M's. Then I notice he's eaten them all except for the red ones. Why? His doctor told him red dye was bad for you. This coming from the man whose cancer had already returned. Despite being the most brilliant person in the room on most occasions, Cardinal George never made you feel less than. He wouldn't hesitate to tell you when you were wrong but he never made you feel less. Cardinal George was denied entry to our archdiocesan high school seminary twice because of the effects polio had on his ability to walk. The first time he was on crutches and seminary officials said he wouldn't be able to get around to classes quickly enough. When he applied again after receiving a brace - one that he wore for the rest of his life - they denied him again. So, he went to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, but God brought him back as archbishop of Chicago many years later. He was the first Chicago native to serve in that position and the first archbishop of Chicago to live to retirement. And like most native Chicagoans, he was fiercely proud of being from the city - born and raised on the North Side and attending Cubs games at Wrigley Field. That pride ran deep. When a reporter questioned him about being one of the first two cardinals ever from Chicago to elect a pope (Benedict XVI) - the other being Cardinal Edward Egan from New York - Cardinal George responded with two words, Oak. Park." That's the neighboring suburb Egan was from, not to be mistaken for the City of Chicago. Cardinal George was a good man. He wasn't perfect, but he was good. It was an honor to work for him. The Catholic New World produced a tribute site to Cardinal George. Please visit it at www.cardinal francisgeorge.org the most brilliant person in the room on most occasions, Cardinal George never made you feel less than. He wouldn't hesitate to tell you when you were wrong, but he never made you feel Cardinal Francis George Photo by Karen Callaway

Previous Page
Next Page