Holy Name to hang Cardinal George’s hat at ‘Month’s Mind’ Mass

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The red hats of Chicago’s five previous cardinals hang from the cathedral ceiling during Sunday Mass on Sunday, April 19, 2015, at Holy Name Cathedral. | Brian Jackson/For The Sun-Times

It’s the No. 1 question asked on tours of Holy Name Cathedral, according to Monsignor Daniel Mayall: “What are those those five red circles up front?”

“Now it’s going to be six.”

Those five red circles are the five red hats of Chicago’s cardinals.

And later this month, Cardinal Francis George’s hat, called a galero, will be raised to the cathedral ceiling to join his predecessors’, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Wednesday.

The gesture will be part of the Month’s Mind Mass marking a month since George’s death.

That Mass will be open to the public, celebrated at 5:15 p.m. Sunday, May 17, at Holy Name Cathedral at State and Superior streets in Chicago. Mayall, the rector of Holy Name, will be the main celebrant and homilist, according to the archdiocese.

The Month’s Mind Mass is a centuries-old Catholic tradition to remember those who have died, the archdiocese said. Those Masses aren’t normally held on Sundays in the archdiocese, Mayall said, but for the archbishop emeritus “we’ll make an exception.”

And the tasseled, wide-brimmed hats – a symbol of the cardinals – will hang in the cathedral for centuries more, according to the Holy Name website.

“The hat hangs until it turns into dust, a reminder that all earthly glory is passing,” it said.

Traditionally, the pope had presented a galero to newly installed cardinals, according to the Holy Name website. That tradition was discontinued with Vatican II, it said, but hats still were made for Chicago’s cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernadin.

Bernadin’s was custom-made for him by the priests of Chicago, Mayall said.

The rector of Holy Name said he hadn’t realized George had one until just before the cardinal died. The seminarians at Mundelein presented it to him about 10 years ago, he said.

“It’s not anything that’s worn. It hasn’t been for a long time. It’s a ceremonial hat that dates back to the Middle Ages,” he said.

It’s been tradition since then to hang the cardinal’s galero above his grave or in his cathedral, Mayall said. Twelve or 13 cathedrals in the United States continue the tradition, including in St. Louis and Los Angeles, he said.

The center hat hanging above the sanctuary panels at Holy Name belonged to Chicago’s first cardinal, George Mundelein, the website said. From left to right, the others represent cardinals Albert Meyer, Bernardin, Cody and Samuel Stritch.

George, archbishop emeritus of Chicago, died at age 78 on Friday, April 17, after a nine-year struggle with cancer. He was the eighth archbishop of Chicago, the first Chicago native to serve in that role and the first to retire from it.

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