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Sneed exclusive: Ailing Cardinal Francis George likely won’t attend Easter Mass

The cardinal’s story . . .

For the first time since he became head of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sneed is told that Cardinal Francis George will not celebrate — and likely won’t attend — Easter Mass at Holy Name Cathedral.

Ironically, George, 78, began his tenure as head of the nation’s third-largest Catholic diocese a week after Easter 1997.

“He came home from the hospital 10 days ago, and the medication he was given for pain seems to be finally giving him some relief, but, sadly, he will be at home for Easter,” said a source close to the cardinal, who has been battling bladder cancer.


“We have not heard whether the cardinal will be in attendance, but he won’t be concelebrating the mass,” said a second source who works for the archdiocese.

George, who has undergone a battery of tests at Loyola University Medical Center since being dropped from a cancer clinical trial in February, had been walking with the assistance of crutches — but now primarily uses a wheelchair.

Earlier this month, Sneed exclusively reported that George had just finished writing a book. “He’s still polishing it up a bit,” the second source said. “It’s a reflection of sorts. Knowing him, it’s probably a spiritually philosophical treatise.”

“The cardinal knows he is not going to get any better, but his spirits seem up,” said the source close to the cardinal.

The door hanger . . .

Former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, the self-made millionaire who did not make the cut in the runoff, must be shaking his head.

To wit: After making headlines for choosing to endorse Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for mayor — instead of Mayor Emanuel — ­Wilson’s face didn’t make the cut on Garcia’s “Our Community Leaders” campaign door hanger, which was dispatched all over the city!

The flip side: “Those were done before the endorsements were even made,” said Stephanie Gadlin, Garcia’s press secretary.

Betcha Wilson is still shaking his head.

Michelle, my belle . . .

Former Obama strategist David Axelrod, who was a White House senior adviser, tells Sneed that author Peter Slevin, whose new book: “Michelle Obama: A Life” was just published, is “a great and thoughtful journalist [who] painted a rich portrait not only of Michelle but of the South Side from which she sprung. Chicagoans will appreciate the history.”

Please note: Axelrod also told Slevin: “When she was unhappy, that pall hung over the West Wing.”

Translation: The first lady communicated her discomfort via email to staff — especially if she thought her husband hadn’t been treated properly.

The mayor’s helpers . . .

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pulling a first. He has hit the campaign trail with his two teenage daughters, Ilana and Leah.

Last-minute Rahm strategy: Stay calm, work hard and put up new lawn signs — 25,000 of them.

The Toni factor . . .

Thus far it looks like Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is going to sit out endorsing anyone for mayor. It’s two weeks until Election Day.

The dilemma: Chuy Garcia is Toni’s pal; but Toni is a tiger when it comes to being a die-hard Dem party player . . . and Rahm is the mayor. Stay tuned.

The glam boys . . .

Good golly, Miss Molly! Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, 40, and pop star Justin Bieber, 21, may be separated by age but not by a penchant for beautiful models. Both were reportedly spotted exiting a West Hollywood nightspot together with glam girls, according to the London Daily Mail — which keeps tabs on such things.

Sneedlings . . .

Sarah Jessica Parker, 50; Bonnie Bedelia, 67; Gloria Steinem, 81; Aretha Franklin, 73; Elton John, 68.