updated 4/7/2007 8:44:12 PM ET 2007-04-08T00:44:12

Cardinal Francis George fractured a hip Saturday after he slipped and fell on the marble floor of a church while blessing Easter baskets, an archdiocese spokesman said.

George, 70, will remain hospitalized for several days, said archdiocese spokeswoman Colleen Dolan. Dolan said George’s injury won’t require surgery, but he will need physical therapy.

“He’ll use a walker for probably a week so he doesn’t put pressure on it while he heals,” she said. “The most important message is that he’s fine.”

Because he suffered from polio as a child, George wears a brace on his right leg that causes him to fall occasionally, Dolan said.

George received applause after being helped back to the altar. He continued the service before being taken to the hospital by an aide when he had trouble walking.

“This is not an unusual occurrence for me to fall,” George said during the Mass. “I fall many times in the course of a year.”

The Roman Catholic archbishop, one of the most prominent U.S. cardinals and the spiritual leader of more than 2.3 million Catholics in the Chicago area, underwent surgery July 27 to have his cancerous bladder removed.

George told parishioners the public spill is a lesson.

“All of us fall in many ways in our life, but with the grace of God ... we get up and we go on,” he said.

Dolan said George will conduct an Easter Mass from the hospital, but will not celebrate his traditional services at Holy Name Cathedral.

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