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Cardinal thanks those ‘who prayed for me’ during hospitalization

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Updated: May 1, 2014 7:36AM

Cardinal Francis George, the leader of Chicago’s Roman Catholic archdiocese, offered a prayerful thanks to worshippers at Holy Name Cathedral on Sunday for keeping him in their thoughts during his recent hospital stay.

“I’d like to pray for those who prayed for me during my week in the hospital,” George told worshippers at one point during the 9:30 a.m. service, the first Mass he’s celebrated since he was released from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood on March 21.

George, 77, had been admitted there a week earlier due to flu-like symptoms and dehydration. He was treated for an infection.

George, who has cancer, will resume his chemotherapy when his doctors feel it is appropriate and will continue to maintain his administrative and public schedule, the archdiocese said.

“I’m a little weak and more wobbly than usual, but other than that I’m doing OK,” George told reporters after Mass.

He said doctors told him the infection is gone, but they remain “very cautious.”

George said he doesn’t have plans yet to reduce his schedule but may have to depending how he responds to his next round of chemotherapy treatments.

“I can keep up the paperwork and calls pretty well, but I have to spend enough time resting and steer clear of any further infection,” he said.

Estelle Martin, 56, of Edgewater Beach, a Holy Name Cathedral parishioner since the 1980s, said George’s return is “sensational and wonderful.”

George, she said, has given parishioners hope.

“I feel so overjoyed to have been a part of his reign,” she said.

George revealed earlier this month that he was undergoing chemotherapy to treat signs of cancer surrounding his right kidney, and that the cancer is expected to be the eventual cause of his death.

George was diagnosed with cancer in August 2012 and underwent chemotherapy at that time. His cancer had been dormant for more than a year.

George had radical surgery to remove his cancerous bladder, prostate and part of his right ureter in July of 2006. He spent 19 days at Loyola University Medical Center and emerged cancer-free.

He submitted his letter of resignation in 2012, as all bishops are required to do when they reach 75 years of age. At the time, he said he hoped to remain at the helm of the Chicago archdiocese for a few more years. Pope Francis has yet to accept George’s resignation. But in January, archdiocese spokeswoman Colleen Dolan said it likely would be six to 12 months before that occurs.

Contributing: Francine Knowles


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