Catholics are preparing to say their final goodbyes to the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who had a reputation for being an intellectual leader in the church.

A Thursday funeral Mass is planned at Holy Name Cathedral. George will be buried in his family's plot at All Saints Cemetery in suburban Des Plaines.

George died last Friday at age 78 after a long battle with cancer.

The Chicago native who grew up in a working-class neighborhood was appointed leader of the nation's third-largest archdiocese in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

George became known as a vigorous defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy.

He retired last fall a few months before announcing his treatment for kidney cancer had failed. He was replaced by Archbishop Blase Cupich (blayz SOO'-pich).