On Nov. 28, Pope Francis formally elevated 13 new cardinals in a ceremony, including Chicago native Wilton Daniel Gregory, who is the archbishop of Washington D.C.
Gregory, 73, is the first African-American cardinal. He told the Associated Press that he viewed his appointment as "an affirmation of Black Catholics in the United States, the heritage of faith and fidelity that we represent," according to NBC Chicago.
He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973, and three years after his ordination began graduate studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (Sant' Anselmo) in Rome, according to the Archdiocese of Washington website. There, he earned his doctorate in sacred liturgy in 1980.
Gregory has expressed support for LGBTQ Catholics, The Washington Blade reported. LGBTQ Catholics familiar with Gregory said he spoke out on a number of occasions in support of the LGBTQ community during his tenure as archbishop of Atlanta. In a development that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper reported, Gregory defended a decision by the pastor of an LGBTQ-supportive Catholic church to invite Jesuit priest and author Father James Martin to speak at the church about one of Martin's booksBuilding a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.
New Ways Ministrya national Catholic ministry that advocates for LGBTQ Catholicshas praised Francis for naming Gregory and two other LGBTQ-supportive church leaders to become cardinals.