CICERO, Ill. (CBS) — Francis Cardinal George took part in the Holy Saturday traditional blessing of baskets of food for Easter Sunday meals at St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish in Cicero.

Hundreds of brightly decorated food baskets were set near the altar for the blessing.

It’s a tradition that has its roots in the Catholic Church in Poland, but the cardinal noted more Chicago parishes are taking part today.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

The cardinal told the packed church it is not the food that’s important, but the banquet, during which “love is strengthened and unity renewed” as families get together.

Cardinal George said the Easter message of re-birth “is one of transcendent hope, but it bears a lot of relationship to the despair that we see all around us.”

He said it is everyone’s responsibility to help others overcome hunger, ill health or loneliness.

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