Francis Cardinal George

Cardinal Francis George, center, stands with Ross Epping, who soon will be ordained as a deacon, and Guillermo Trevino, right, on Sept. 6, 2013, after a service for priesthood candidates from the Diocese of Davenport. Trevino will ordained a priest on June 6. 

As a new theology student at Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Chicago, Moline native Guillermo Trevino admitted being nervous the first time he met Cardinal Francis George, the eighth Archbishop of Chicago, five years ago.

George, 78, the first Chicago native to serve as the local archbishop, died Friday after a long battle with cancer, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“It was at a golf banquet,” said Trevino, 29, who will be ordained June 6. “It was my first month at Mundelein. I was selling raffle tickets as a fundraiser for the seminary.”

The best way to sell raffle tickets is the direct approach, said Trevino, who also is a deacon for the Diocese of Davenport.

“I introduced myself and told him I was selling raffle tickets for the seminary and he asked me how much they were,” Trevino said. “They were $25 each or five for $100. I was just plain Guillermo then, but I figured I’d go right to the top. I was hoping to sell one or something. If I could sell one to the Cardinal, I could say that Cardinal George bought one.

“He bought five,” Trevino said. “He gave me a $100 bill. I was about to write his name on them, and he told me to write my mother’s name on them. The grand prize was about $10,000. I told my mom about how Cardinal George bought raffle tickets for her.”

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George, who retired as Chicago archbishop in the fall, announced in December that doctors had determined their treatment for the cancer found on his kidney had failed.

"Let us heed his example and be a little more brave, a little more steadfast and a lot more loving, said Chicago Archbishop Blasé Cupich, who followed George in the role.

Cupich described George as "a man of great courage."

Appointed to Chicago in 1997 by Pope John Paul II, George became a leading figure of his era in many of the most important events in the American church.

In December 2006, George dedicated Christ the King Chapel on the campus of St. Ambrose University, Davenport. The chapel had undergone a $5.2 million makeover. George’s predecessor, Cardinal Samuel Stritch, originally dedicated the chapel in 1953.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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