The Church, The Cardinal and You

Ministry with Cardinal Francis Eugene George, OMI

All of my 14 years employed by the Archdiocese of Chicago were under the leadership of the late Francis Cardinal George, OMI. During my ten-years tenure in the Family Ministries Office, I had the opportunity to collaborate with him in writing the Marriage Ministry Guidelines, In The Spirit of Cana, and the annual Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass and reception, which I coordinated. As Director of the Office for Black Catholics, I had frequent conversations with him regarding the initiatives of the Office, e.g., the Cause for the Canonization of Fr. Augustus Tolton.  For 15 years, I was a founding member of the Archdiocese Anti-Racism Task Force, which was named after Cardinal George's historic pastoral letter on racism, Dwell In My Love, which he commissioned. 

However, as a host of the monthly TV program, The Church, The Cardinal, And You, I had opportunities to interview him on broader topics on current events and matters of the Archdiocese, the Church, and the world. Though his public persona seemed stern and perhaps rigid, I found Cardinal George to be warm, humorous, compassionate, and often playful. I experienced him as a holy man of God who was prayerful. I fondly appreciate his promises to pray for my wife, who was diagnosed with MS in 2011, and his regular asking about her in our studio conversations. 

In the summer of 2014, I spearheaded a historic gathering of members of the Catholic communities of the African Diaspora. Representatives of African-American, Caribbean, South American, and African communities came together to pray with Cardinal George as cancer was taking its final toll on his body. He was delighted by the assembly. Despite his fatigue, he was very engaging at the reception that followed the service. It was a highlight of my service in the Office for Black Catholics. 

It was my privilege to serve the Church under his leadership, and I'm thankful for the personal support I received from him. May he rest in eternal peace.

Andrew Lyke

Oct 21, 2014

Cardinal Francis George discusses a column he wrote for the Catholic New World.  The Cardinal appeared on the cable TV program, The Church, the Cardinal and You, with host Andrew Lyke.

Oct 24, 2014

Chicago Cardinal Francis George discusses violence in the city and the Catholic response with host Andrew Lyke on the cable TV program, The Church, the Cardinal and You.

Oct 20, 2014

Chicago Catholic Schools Superintendent Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey and Peter de Keratry, manager of the "To Teach Who Christ Is" campaign discuss Catholic education with Andrew Lyke, host of the cable TV program, "The Church, the Cardinal and You."

Sep 20, 2012

The City of Chicago is teaming up with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago to help those in need.  Comments from both city and Catholic Charities leaders were shown as part of the cable TV program, The Church, the Cardinal and You.  

Prayer Service with Cardinal George and the Catholic Communities of the African Diaspora

On Friday, August 8, 2014, the Catholic communities of the African Diaspora gathered in the Shrine Chapel of St. Rita Cascia High School on Chicago's Southside to pray with and for Francis Cardinal George, OMI, and to thank him for his leadership and commitment to the Church.

It was a glorious event for which we are thankful to have had to spend some time with our shepherd and to show our love for him. 

May he rest in peace.

This event was sponsored by the Office for Black Catholics, Director Andrew Lyke. 

Welcome Address by Andrew Lyke

 August 8, 2014

Your Eminence, Cardinal George; your Excellency, Bishop Perry, Father Jones, members of the Catholic Communities of the African Diaspora; and all you people of God who are part of this glorious assembly:

We come together to give praise and thanks to our God and to show our appreciation for our shepherd, Francis Cardinal George, OMI, for his leadership and pastoral care over the past 17 years.

Cardinal George, it was in 1997, very shortly after arriving in Chicago as our new archbishop when you spoke at DePaul University, the first speaker in a series by the Catholic Studies Department. I was part of the University Ministry staff and one of the responders to your lecture. Honestly, I don’t remember the topic of the series or your presentation. I do remember the question I asked you and your response. My question was, “With Chicago’s history of racial tensions, even in the Church, what will you do to help bring healing in this racially torn community?” This was in the wake of the Lenard Clark beating, which had spurred a strong, proactive response from the Archdiocese. Good work had begun toward racial healing and there was concern, at least on my part, about whether the new archbishop would support and continue what had begun. Your response to my question was a sharp turn from the academic discourse of your lecture to a pastoral, passionate and personal response. You shared stories from your own life, stories that would be part of your ground-breaking pastoral letter on racism “Dwell In My Love”, which was foundational to the strategic anti-racism work of the Archdiocese that you would initiate. While there is still much more to do in that work, your leadership has greatly advanced anti-racism as part of the mission of the Church.

Under your pastoral care the Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union, which provides financial support, ministerial formation, and scholarship for Black Catholics, has flourished. In 2011 you set forth the Cause for Sainthood of Fr. August Tolton, one whose life is an important chapter in the story of Africans in America, particularly those who are Catholic of Chicago. The Cause lifts up the life of this holy man, Fr. Tolton, for the world to appreciate. We Black Catholics feel lifted as well.

Thank you, Cardinal George, for your commitment to all these initiatives and more, and for your steadfast support of the Black Catholic community of the Archdiocese, the Office for Black Catholics, the Black Catholic Deacons, the important work of anti-racism through the Office for Racial Justice and the Anti-Racism Taskforce.

Assembled here this evening are members of the Catholic communities of the African Diaspora, people of African ancestry, whether from the Caribbean, the Continent of Africa, or the progeny of African slaves in America. We claim our common ancestry as one reason to seek communion with each other. Our common Catholic Faith is the means by which we find communion. Our love for Christ, which compels us to glorify him in the Church, and our gratitude for your leadership, Cardinal George, are our reasons for coming together this evening. Our purpose is to bless you and be blessed by you, to pray with you and pray for you, to thank you for your service to the Church, and celebrate your priesthood in Christ.

So, let us begin!