It was a triumphant Easter return for Holy Name Cathedral Sunday.
After being closed for three years, first for structural work and then for repairs from a February 2009 attic fire, thousands turned out to celebrate Mass at the 135-year-old Gothic-style cathedral.
"This church has come back from a long, hard time. But we have our parishioners here, we have people from all over Chicagoland, from all over the U.S., from all over the world," The Rev. Dan Mayall told the Chicago Tribune, adding that it was the largest crowd he's since during his tenure.
The church's capacity of 1,100 was eclipsed as parishioners were forced to sit on the outside steps for the 11 a.m. service officiated by Francis Cardinal George.
George's Easter homily did not mention the church sex abuse scandal. In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI ignored the issue as well but was thanked for his "unfailing" leadership by a cardinal.
After services, George told the Tribune "there is one story of Easter, and that is that God brings good out of evil. We should try to keep looking for the facts and go on with our life in Christ."