Archbishop Wilton J. Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta will give the fourth annual lecture of the Saint Benedict Education Foundation at Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, on Tuesday, November 27, at the Fred M. Rogers Center.
Born December 7, 1947, in Chicago to Wilton Sr. and Ethel Duncan Gregory, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory attended St. Carthage Grammar School, where he converted to Catholicism. He attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, Niles College (now Saint Joseph’s College Seminary) of Loyola University and Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary.
He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973. Three years after his ordination he began graduate studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (Sant’ Anselmo) in Rome. There he earned his doctorate in sacred liturgy in 1980.
After having served as an associate pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, Ill., as a member of the faculty of Saint 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, Ill., where he served for the next eleven years.
On December 9, 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Gregory as the sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was installed on January 17, 2005. Archbishop Gregory has also contributed a leading role in the U.S. church. In November of 2001, he was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops following three years as vice president under Bishop Joseph Fiorenza of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. During his tenure in office, the crisis of sex abuse by Catholic clergy escalated, and under his leadership, the bishops implemented the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
He served on the NCCB Executive and Administrative Committees, the Administrative Board, the Committee on Doctrine and the U.S. Catholic Conference Committee on International Policy. He previously served as the chairman of the Bishops’ Committees on Personnel and the Third Millennium/Jubilee Year 2000 from 1998-2001, and Liturgy from 1991-93.
Archbishop Gregory has written extensively on church issues, including pastoral statements on the death penalty and euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide, and has published numerous articles on the subject of liturgy, particularly in the African-American community.
He has also been awarded seven honorary doctoral degrees.