Pope Francis has tapped Archbishop Wilton Gregory to lead the embattled Archdiocese of Washington, giving the nation's capital its first African-American archbishop a veteran leader who guided the Catholic Church through its clergy sexual abuse crisis in the early 2000s.
The archbishop of Washington is traditionally elevated by the Pope to the college of cardinals, meaning that Gregory eventually could be the first African-American cardinal ever to serve in the Catholic Church in the United States.
Archbishop Gregory has was previously in charge of the Archdiocese of Atlanta in Georgia. He was appointed Archbishop in December 2004, and took office on 17 January 2005.
The Archbishop, who was born in 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, studied philosophy at Niles College and theology at Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. He was ordained a priest on May 9, 1973 for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
In 1980 Archbishop Gregory obtained his Doctorate in Liturgy at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant'Anselmo in Rome.
After his priestly ordination, he held the following positions: Parish Vicar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview; Student in Rome (1976-1979); Professor of Liturgy at Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelain, Member of the Archdiocesan Office for the Liturgy and Master of Ceremonies for Cardinals Cody and Bernardin (1980-1983).
In October of 1983 he was appointed titular Bishop of Oliva and Auxiliary of Chicago. He was transferred to the See of Belleville, Illinois, in 1993.
Within the United States Episcopal Conference, the Archbishop has held a number of positions including, President (2001-2004), Vice-President (1998-2001). He is currently Chair of the Committee on Divine Worship.