Former Yakima bishop cancels visit after medical issue

CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF YAKIMA NEWS RELEASE -- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, a former bishop of the Yakima Diocese who had planned to come to Yakima this week for two public events, has canceled his visit after developing an infection.

"Our prayers are with the cardinal," said Yakima Bishop Joseph Tyson, who spoke with George this morning. The 77-year-old archbishop, who served in Yakima from 1990-1996, expressed disappointment at missing Wednesday's blessing of the Cardinal George Gymnasium at La Salle High School, and the 100th anniversary celebration of St. Paul Cathedral as a parish.

George had planned to attend despite revealing a week ago that he is resuming chemotherapy for an aggressive form of cancer. The infection, however, has left him "in no shape to travel," Tyson said.

Tyson will bless part of the school facility at 3 p.m. Wednesday, in hopes that the cardinal can come to Yakima later in the year for another ceremony. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, will preside at the 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Paul's.

Yakima was part of the Seattle Archdiocese when the Diocese of Yakima was formed in 1951. St. Paul Parish was named the cathedral parish that year. The word "cathedral" comes from the Latin word "cathedra," or "chair," denoting the special chair used by the bishop when he presides at services in the church.