American Catholic Bishops Gather in New Orleans

Meeting could be Cardinal Francis George's last as Chicago's acting archbishop

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014  |  Updated 1:26 PM CDT
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Cardinal Francis George is reflection on what could be his last bishop's conference during his tenure. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Cardinal Francis George is reflection on what could be his last bishop's conference during his tenure. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

The American Catholic Bishops gathered in New Orleans Wednesday morning in what may be Cardinal Francis George's last meeting as Chicago's acting archbishop.

The annual meeting is George's first getaway since revealing he has cancer for the third time and said he's grateful his health is strong enough for him to travel.

Cardinal George was once president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, making him the go-to person for the American Catholic Church.

The Vatican has confirmed the search is underway for George's successor, putting his retirement perhaps months away.

That puts the focus on who may lead the Chicago Church next. Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin is one of the six-to-eight names often mentioned.

George said he does not plan on a formal farewell from the group but is grateful to be here.

Meanwhile the bishops will tackle issues such as priest sex abuse, immigration and the family. The family is the topic they hope will bring Pope Francis to the United States for the first time in September 2015. That's when there will be a synod on the family in Philadelphia.    

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