Cardinal Francis Eugene George, arch-bishop of Chicago, died yesterday at the age of 78, following his long struggle against cancer. His life, marked by Polio which had struck him at the age of 13, provoking irreparable damage to his legs, has been characterised by numerous commitments within the Catholic Church.
First person from Chicago to be ordained bishop in the American metropolis, he becam priest at the age of 26 after having entered into the Congregation of the Oblates, Missionaries of the Immaculate Maria. He graduated in the faculty of Philosophy and Theology, and has been bishop in other two diocese, Yakima, in the state of Washington and Portland, in Oregon – before the episcopate in Chicago in 1997. On 20 September 2014, Pope Francis, had accepted his resignation from the pastoral government of the arch-diocese for having reached the age-limit and following his worsening health conditions.
He was member of th papal appointment at the Synod of Bishops on the Consecrated Life in 1994 and special secretary to the Special Assembly for the American Synod of Bishops in 1997. From 2004 to 2007, he has been vice-chairman at the Conference of Catholic Bishops in the US, then becoming Chairman up until 2010. John Paul II appointed him cardinal in the consistory on 21 February 1998 as priest of San Bartolomeo all’Isola. Amongst the many appointments, he was also chairman on the Commission of NCCB “for Bishops and Scholars” from1992 to 1994, further to being episcopal moderator and member of the council for “National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities”.
Translation provided by Marina Stronati