Pope Francis

Archbishop Wilton Gregory, a Chicago Native, Becomes First Black American Cardinal

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Pope Francis formally elevated 13 new cardinals in a ceremony Saturday, including Chicago-native Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington D.C.

The ceremony, known as a consistory, took place Saturday in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica. Gregory was one of 13 new cardinals to receive the rank at the ceremony, which was heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as two cardinals stayed home, and the rest eschewed the usual celebrations for the event.

Gregory, the first African-American cardinal, told the Associated Press that he viewed his appointment as “an affirmation of Black Catholics in the United States, the heritage of faith and fidelity that we represent.”

Gregory, 73, was picked by Francis to lead the prestigious Washington D.C. archdiocese last year. He was born in Chicago, living with his family on the city’s South Side in the early years of his life. He attended Niles College in Chicago, and attended seminary at St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.

He served in a variety of functions for the church in the Chicago area, including serving as the Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago in the 1980’s.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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