Cardinal Francis George celebrated 50 years in the priesthood Wednesday.
More than 90 of his bishop colleagues have flown in from all corners of the globe to fete this church leader.
George, who in 1997 became the first Chicago-born cardinal to lead the archdiocese, sat down with NBC 5 for a rare one-on-one interview to discuss his tenure and his ultimate goal: to become the first Chicago cardinal to actually retire.
During the interview, the cardinal touched on highlights and lowlights of his tenure with the Catholic Church.
He said the priest sex abuse crisis is an obvious low point.
George lit up when he discussed Pope Francis, who he said is truly free.
There are plenty of tasks still on his plate.
George, who has survived two bouts with cancer, is still uncertain about his health. Pope Francis will choose his successor sometime in the next year to 18 months.