This archbishop is about to become the first African American cardinal in Catholic history


November 27, 2020

By Daniel Burke and Delia Gallagher

Rome – For the past week, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC, has been holed up in a Vatican guesthouse, receiving meals at his door.

On Saturday afternoon, if all goes as planned, Gregory will step out of his quarters and into history. During an installation ceremony planned for 4pm in Rome, Gregory will become the first African American cardinal in Catholic history.

Gregory will be one of 13 men — and the only American — elevated to the College of Cardinal during Saturday’s ceremony. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, two bishops will not be in Rome, another first in church history, according to Vatican News.

In keeping with the Pope’s concerns for Catholics who have been historically marginalized, the other soon-to-be cardinals include men from Rwanda, Brunei, Chile and the Philippines.

Gregory, 72, already the highest-ranking African-American Catholic in US history, told CNN this week that he has been praying, writing homilies and letters to well-wishers, and reflecting on his new role.

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