Cardinal Francis George, who was Chicago's archbishop for 17 years, died Friday after a nine-year battle with cancer.
Monsignor Michael Boland, president of Catholic Charities for the archdiocese, released the following statement regarding the death of Cardinal George:
Today we mourn the loss of an incredible leader, guiding spirit and loyal friend. Cardinal George had compassion for all. You saw this compassion in his eyes as he visited with the poor and most vulnerable in our communities.
He was a wonderful mentor to many, including me. He always supported the work of Catholic Charities and it was an incredible blessing to have his leadership help guide us for 17 years. He helped us tackle some of the most difficult issues facing our communities, always with faith and concern for the poorest of the poor. He exemplified our call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, showing mercy and kindness to all and leading by example.
Personally, Cardinal George served as an inspiration to me, as I know he did to many in the Archdiocese and around the world. He was unwavering in his support of the mission of Catholic Charities and his deep-rooted faith and love of the Lord shown through in all he did.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also commented on the loss.
"Cardinal Francis George led a remarkable life of faith and service," Emanuel noted in a statement. "As Chicago's first native-born Archbishop, his journey took him full-circle from growing up in Portage Park to serving in far-flung missions around the globe, and eventually back home to shepherd the City of Chicago towards a better future.
"He lent his counsel to those in distress, his comfort to those in despair and he inspired us all with his courage in his final days," Emanuel added. "He could always be counted on to provide those granite qualities to the countless people who relied on them when it mattered the most. "Amy and I join every Chicagoan in extending our deepest sympathies to Cardinal George's family, his many friends, and the Archdiocese of Chicago during this difficult time."
Read more about Cardinal George's work and life here and here.