It was a ceremony that was heavy on style, formality and tradition as The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory was installed as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington.
Gregory’s official title is “His Excellency The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, SLD, as Seventh Archbishop of Washington.”
The ceremony was held Tuesday at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue, N.E., which is the largest Roman Catholic Church in North America.
Gregory was appointed April 4 by Pope Francis, and succeeds Cardinal Donald Wuerl as archbishop.
During the appointment, in a statement Cardinal Wuerl said: “With great joy, I welcome the news that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has favored this local Church with the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, as the seventh Archbishop of Washington. I join all who appreciate his pastoral abilities, his intellectual gifts and his leadership qualities.”
“As the Church of Washington opens a new chapter and looks to the future, we can all, with great confidence and enthusiasm, welcome our new shepherd.”
“I am deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this appointment to serve the Archdiocese of Washington and to work with all of the members of this faith community,” said Archbishop Gregory during last month’s appointment. “I look forward to encountering and listening to the people of this local Church as we address the issues that face us and continue to grow in the Love of Christ that sustains us.”
The day’s services was a a journey, or liturgy, of acclamations and song. The highlight of the afternoon was a version Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise,” a song usually pumped with gospel ferver, was light and glorious in this rendition.
“We stand at a defining moment for our local faith community,” Archbishop Gregory said during the installment. “Our hearts were filled with hopes and eagerness.”
“Together we implore the Holy Spirit to fortify us with the grace, perseverance, and determination that only Christ himself is able to provide as a gift with his presence, peace and promise.”
Gregory was born in Chicago, IL in 1947. He attended St. Carthage Grammar School, where he converted to Catholicism. He attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, Niles College (now St. Joseph’s College Seminary) of Loyola University and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, according to his biography.
He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973. In 1976 he began graduate studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (Sant’ Anselmo) in Rome. There he earned his doctorate in sacred liturgy in 1980.
He served as an associate pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, IL, as a member of the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein and as a master of ceremonies to Cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernardin, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop of Chicago on December 13, 1983. On February 10, 1994, he was installed as the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, IL where he served for the next eleven years.
He is most famously known as being appointed the sixth Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta on December 9, 2004.
In an article pulling data from a 2014 Religious Landscape Study, there are 51 million Catholics in the U.S., which constitutes about one fifth of the country. Of that number 59 percent are White, 34 percent are Hispanic and three percent are black.
To watch the entire ceremony please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9093&v=Pepd1BDGWX0
To see the full program go to: https://adw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/05/ArchbishopGregoryInstallation21May2019.pdf