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  • Honoring His Eminence Francis Eugene Cardinal George, O.M.I., on the 50Th Anniversary of His Ordination

    by Representative Daniel Lipinski

    Posted on 2013-12-19

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    LIPINSKI of illinois in the house of representatives Thursday, December 19, 2013 Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Francis Cardinal George on the 50th anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood. Yesterday I joined more than 100 bishops from around the world and hundreds of members of the Chicago Archdiocese in congratulating Cardinal George as he celebrated this milestone with a Mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois where he has served as leader of the Archdiocese for almost 17 years. Francis Eugene George was born in 1937 to Francis and Julia George on Chicago's Northwest side. He grew up there with his older sister Margaret and attended St. Pascal School. At the age of 13 he was diagnosed with polio, and to this day wears a leg brace to support the muscles that were damaged by his battle with the illness.

    But George persevered and kept his faith, enrolling at St. Henry Preparatory Seminary in Belleville, Illinois, an affiliated high school with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He would eventually join the Missionary Oblates and would make his solemn vow as a member of the order. George was ordained a priest in 1963 at St. Pascal Church where his Catholic education had started as a boy. The following year he received a degree in theology from the University of Ottawa, his first of many degrees including a doctorate in Philosophy from Tulane University and a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University.

    After spending time as a professor, George continued to serve his order when he became the Vicar General for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. For 12 years, he traveled to missions in some of the poorest regions of Africa, Latin America and Asia. In 1990 Pope John Paul II appointed George as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Yakima, Washington. In 1996 he was appointed the ninth Archbishop of Portland in Oregon when he was installed by Pope John Paul II at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. George would serve there for less than a year before he was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the vacant See of Chicago. He was the first native Chicagoan to be appointed as the Archbishop of Chicago, which serves 2.2 million Catholics in 356 different parishes. Within the first year of his service in Chicago, George was elevated to the honor of Cardinal.

    For almost 17 years Cardinal George has led his people in the Chicago Archdiocese with his unmatched intellect and warmth. At Mass yesterday, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, very aptly described George as ``intelligent and articulate, courageous and curious, humble, zealous.'' Kurtz continued, ``Like Pope Francis, we see in you a generous heart and zealous missionary spirit . . . a humble man of vision.'' Today I express my admiration for Cardinal George's devotion to the Archdiocese of Chicago and the entire community, and honor his lifetime of achievements. I ask my colleagues to join me in wishing Francis Cardinal George well as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of his ordination, and to thank him for his inspiring service.


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