First African American Cardinal
Pope Francis this morning named Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory a cardinal, along with 12 other new cardinals worldwide. He will be elevated to the College of Cardinals at a November 28 consistory at the Vatican.
Cardinal-elect Wilton Gregory released the following statement on the news from the Vatican this morning: “With a very grateful and humble heart, I thank Pope Francis for this appointment which will allow me to work more closely with him in caring for Christ’s Church.”
Archbishop Gregory, installed as Washington’s archbishop in May 2019, will become the first African American to be elevated to the College of Cardinals. A native of Chicago, the cardinal-elect turns 73 on December 7.
Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1973, he served as a parish priest in Chicago and was ordained an auxiliary bishop of Chicago in 1983. In 1994, Bishop Gregory was installed as the bishop of Belleville, Illinois, where he served for 11 years, and then as archbishop of Atlanta in 2005, before his appointment as archbishop of Washington in 2019.
According to the Archdiocese of Washington, Archbishop Gregory has written extensively on church issues, including pastoral statements on the death penalty, euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide and has published numerous articles on the subject of liturgy, particularly in the African-American community.
Archbishop Gregory has been awarded nine honorary doctoral degrees.
He received the Great Preacher Award from Saint Louis University in 2002;
Doctorate of Humanities from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL (2002-2003);
Sword of Loyola from Loyola University of Chicago (2004);
Doctorate of Humane Letters from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL (2005);
Doctorate of Humane Letters from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH;
Doctorate of Humane Letters from McKendree College in Lebanon, IL;
Doctorate of Humanities from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, MO;
Honorary Law Degree from Notre Dame University (2012);
Chicago Catholic Theological Union Honorary Doctorate (2013)