CHICAGO (CBS) –Christians celebrated Easter at churches and events across the Chicago area Sunday.
This year the holiday is especially meaningful for many Catholics as Francis Cardinal George battles a recurrence of cancer.
Worshippers showed up early Easter Sunday and waited in a line that wrapped around Holy Name Cathedral to hear perhaps the last Easter homily by Cardinal Francis George.
Despite his health, Cardinal George was in good spirits.
“I feel very good. It is Easter Sunday and so there is a lot of joy in the air,” said Cardinal George.
George is undergoing chemotherapy to treat a recurrence of cancer in his kidney and has asked the church to begin searching for his successor as Archbishop of Chicago.
“Well, it might be the last Easter in which I am the Archbishop of Chicago. I don’t know if it will be the last Easter in which I am on the face of the Earth, but at any rate we believe in the infinite love of God and I am in his hands as everybody else is as well,” said Cardinal George.
Cardinal George remained seated for communion and did not shake hands with parishioners because of his weakened immune system.
Holy Name parishioner Hector Salas said, “Easter is a time to pray for peace for a lot of people, what about you? I think I do the same thing. You hear on the news a lot of crime. And I think today is an excellent day to pray for all those victims.”
There were similar prayers at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in River North.
“We pray here daily for this city. Obviously, there is so much that is good about this place. So many people working so hard and so many people caught up in what seems like unending patterns of violence and despair. And the point of Easter is that in the end violence doesn’t win,” said Rev. David Cobb.
Meanwhile, some Chicagoans enjoyed food and fun at Easter brunch at the Peninsula Hotel. Darragh Lawless found the biggest egg.
“I didn’t go for the small ones,” said Darragh Lawless.
Others simply enjoyed their first real breath of spring.
“It finally means spring is coming and good weather so definitely,” said Kelly Deimel.