Catholic New World: Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Anniversary Mass a day to remember

On a gloriously sunny afternoon, a capacity congregation filled Holy Name Cathedral’s 1,100 seats to celebrate Cardinal George’s 10 years as Archbishop of Chicago.

The cardinal’s anniversary Mass began with a procession of banners from parishes all over the archdiocese, followed by representatives of the Knights of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and the Knights of St. Peter Claver and the Knights of Columbus.

During his homily, the cardinal spoke of love, as Jesus spoke of it in the Gospel: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.” (Jn 14:23-24)

The congregation, the cardinal said, was more than just a varied group from all corners of Cook and Lake counties.

“It’s a picture of love made visible,” said the cardinal. “In that picture, all our hearts should be moved.”

But, the cardinal said, he sees a fear of love stopping people from committing themselves to the priesthood, to religious vocations and to marriage. Love is demanding, he said, and people fear being betrayed by those they love, and they fear becoming the one who betrays.

“Who now is capable of taking his or her life and handing it over to someone else?” he said.

But that is the love Jesus demands.

“Keep my word, he says, and he means not just on Tuesday or Wednesday, but forever,” Cardinal George said.

Speaking the day before Mother’s Day, the cardinal pointed out how important mothers are in teaching their children about love.

“We need to experience the love of someone else,” he said. “A mother is a constant point of reference and often taken for granted. … Having experienced it, we know who we are because of that love.”