His Eminence Francis Cardinal George visited the Word on Fire office in Skokie yesterday, celebrating Mass for the staff and extending his continued support and gracious congratulations in regard to the production of the CATHOLICISM series. We snapped a few pictures of the Cardinal's visit, which we have included below.
Additionally, we would like to pass along our sincere gratitude to you, our loyal readers, viewers, prayer warriors and supporters who have given of your time and resources (financial, spiritual and otherwise) to help Father Barron and Word on Fire spread the Gospel through the new media. Thank you for viewing and promoting the CATHOLICISM series and enabling the message of the Risen Christ to be heard in ever-evolving ways through new and innovative means. We certainly offered our thankful prayers for each of you in the Word on Fire chapel yesterday.
With Father Steve Grunow, Father Barron, and Father Dan Flens as concelebrants, Cardinal George entered the doors of the Word on Fire Chapel dedicated to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Therese of Lisieux to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In his homily, he called attention to the new stained-glass images of the Word on Fire patrons, saying that, in glorious Catholic, sacramental fashion, these images give form to the relationships that we hold in our hearts with these divine helpers.
Father Barron welcomed Cardinal George, thanking His Eminence on behalf of the entire ministry for his endorsement and permission to carry on the work of evangelization through Word on Fire.
Patrick Thornton proclaimed the first reading.
Cardinal George offered a beautiful homily on great movements in the Church whose effectiveness rests on their ability to maintain the tension between "stability and movement." After the Liturgy of the Eucharist, he said the closing prayer and blessed the Word on Fire Staff.
The closing hymn, "Now Thank We All Our God," contained a fitting message of gratitude to God for his faithfulness and a plea for his continued blessing:
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!
Following Mass, the Cardinal joined the Word on Fire Staff for lunch and a small celebration of his recent 75th birthday. Pictured here are Matt Leonard, Kerry Trotter, Father Dan Flens, Father Barron, Cardinal George, Sean Lee, Patrick Thornton, Diane Archibald, Nancy Ross, and Father Steve Grunow.
Fr. Dan Flens, Fr. Barron, Cardinal George, and Sean Lee conversed about the filming of CATHOLICISM, and Father Barron spoke about some of his favorite moments during the production trips around the world-- from the Holy Land to Calcutta and Uganda.
After lunch, Fr. Steve brought out the Cardinal's birthday cake. Cardinal George counted to make sure we didn't sneak in too many candles.
"Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you..."
Cardinal George blew out the candles and wished (we think) for a piece of cake. Wish granted.
Diane Archibald, Nancy Ross, and Fr. Steve looked on as the Cardinal opened a small gift from Word on Fire.
As the lunch came to a close, Father Barron again thanked His Eminence on behalf of all of Word on Fire and our global supporters for his pivotal support and overwhelming generosity.
St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us, and pray for continued strength and blessing upon Francis Cardinal George.