Raising the hat

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Sunday, May 31, 2015

Raising the hat

While Father Brad Zamora looks on, Father Dan Flens, Cardinal George’s longtime assistant, picks up the galero before carrying it to where it would be raised to the cathedral’s ceiling. Msgr. Daniel Mayall, rector of Holy Name Cathedral, was the main celebrant and homilist at the Month's Mind Mass, in remembrance of the one-month anniversary of the death of Cardinal George on May 17. During this Mass Cardinal George’s galero was raised to the cathedral ceiling to hang by the other five past Chicago cardinals. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Father Flens watches the galero being raised. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
The galero is traditionally received upon elevation to the College of Cardinals. Although the actual galero is no longer bestowed during the consistory in which cardinals are created (the cardinals receive a red biretta), the red galero, with its 15 tassels on either side, is added to the new cardinal's coat of arms. When a cardinal dies, his galero is hung above the apse of his home cathedral and stays there until it disintegrates. Holy Name Cathedral has six galeros hanging above the sanctuary. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Galeros (left to right) belong to Cardinals Meyer, Bernardin, Mundelein, Cody, Stritch. Cardinal George’s galero is higher up between Mundelein and Cody. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Members of the congregation clap as they watch the galero rising to the ceiling. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Herman Murden displays the T-shirt he made in honor of Cardinal George. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

The raising of Cardinal George’s galero to the ceiling of Holy Name Cathedral on May 17 — the feast of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven — was a punctuation mark on the life of somebody who meant something to our culture and to our church, said Msgr. Dan Mayall, cathedral rector.

“He was a historical cardinal. He was a graceful cardinal,” Mayall told those gathered for the 5:15 p.m. Month’s Mind Mass, where the galero was raised following Communion.

A “Month’s Mind” Mass is a centuries old tradition honoring the one-month anniversary of a person’s death. Cardinal George died April 17 at the Archbishop’s Residence after a long battle with cancer.

Although it is no longer an official part of the funeral rites for a cardinal, the custom is still practiced in some places where the galero — the red, ceremonial hat that cardinals used to receive upon elevation to the College of Cardinals — is hung from the apse of the cathedral.

Cardinal George’s galero now hangs with those of Chicago’s previous cardinals: Mundelein, Stritch, Meyer, Cody and Bernardin. Traditionally the galeros hang until they disintegrate.

Cardinal George has two galeros — one donated by benefactors, which now hangs in the cathedral, and another donated by seminarians, which will hang at Mundelein Seminary.

During the homily Mayall said the ceremony serves to remind us all of our own mortality. “But also to remind us to pray for the great Chicagoans who walked these streets.”

Cardinal George, who was the archdiocese’s eighth archbishop, was the first Chicago native to hold the post and was proud to be from the city, Mayall told the congregation, which included Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his family.

He shared the story of when a reporter told the cardinal two men from Chicago elected Pope Benedict — referring to George and Cardinal Edward Egan of New York.

“The cardinal looked at the reporter and said ‘Oak. Park.’” referring to Egan’s hometown outside of the city. The congregation laughed at the memory.

Following Communion, Father Dan Flens, Cardinal George’s longtime assistant, carried the galero to where a wire would raise it to the ceiling. The congregation sang while the galero was pulled upward.

Several of Cardinal George’s family members attended the Mass, including his cousin Jack Doerr.

“This concludes a very difficult month, I think, not only for the cardinal’s family but for an adoring city and people around the world,” Doerr said. “It’s a wonderful ceremony.”

The family will miss seeing the cardinal all the time. “We were all very close,” Doerr said.

They will also miss his presence and his sense of humor, which he didn’t often show in public but shared with his family and friends.

“He loved to joke around,” Doerr said.

Herman Murden, a 30-year-old parishioner at Holy Name, showed his love of Cardinal George on his chest.

The evening of the Mass Murden wore a T-shirt with Cardinal George’s crest on the front and his photo on the back. The cardinal’s date of birth and death were written on his sleeve.

Murden, who first met the cardinal when he served for him years ago at St. James Parish on Wabash Avenue, said he had the T-shirt made right after the funeral.

“He’s kinda been a big inspiration to me,” Murden told the Catholic New World.

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” he said of the Month’s Mind Mass and galero raising. “I made sure that I made it here because of what he has done for the church and the community.”


  • cardinal george
  • holy name cathedral
  • galero

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