CUA on Tap with Cardinal Gregory

Image Courtesy of Angelus News

By Zachary Lichter

On Thursday, February 17, 2022, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington and the Catholic University of America Chancellor3 spoke at this month’s CUA on Tap. 

The talk began with Austin Nappi and Esther Paulino emceeing the event, and Paulino started by giving a resume about Gregory’s life. Gregory was born in Chicago and was ordained a priest at the age of twenty-five in the Archdiocese of Chicago by Cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernardin. He then became an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, and then became the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Later he would become known as the first African American Cardinal from then on. He then became the archbishop for the Archdiocese of Washington in 2019. Then in 2020, he was elevated by Pope Francis to the College of Cardinals in a Consistory in Rome. 

“I think just from his resume what makes him a notable figure is how hard he’s worked his entire life.” said senior history and secondary education major and theology minor Christian Bordak-Roseman. “He’s been on numerous committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), numerous spots around the country, and also the fact that he’s such a hard worker. I also think with his discussion of what it was like to become a Cardinal which he said the most because despite being in the second-highest grouping behind the pope.”

Gregory talked about how February is Black History Month and how people today still encounter their faith like those who did 2,000 years ago. He mentioned that no matter what race, whether African American, Asian, Hispanic, or the many European backgrounds, people encounter their faith the same way. 

Gregory also looked back at our nation’s history by mentioning how African Americans have always practiced their faith. He pointed out that African Americans were not allowed to enter the seminary. He talked about how Augustus Tolton, the first African American priest, was rejected from the seminaries in the United States because of his race, and he had to study in Rome. Other African American priests were sent to study as missionaries in Africa. 

Then Gregory mentioned in his speech how people can look to other African American men and women in the church like Sister Thea Bowman, Catholic University alumnae, for guidance on their faith. 

Cardinal Gregory concluded his speech by mentioning that we, as Catholics, should get to know the priests in our churches. If people get to know the priests, then they will get to know the Church. He then concluded that, as Catholics, we can’t have a church without a community filled with life and friends which he said that all starts with race by supporting your friends with racial diversity. By having a good community, individuals can learn about Christ’s love and can create friendships with other people. 

After Gregory’s speech, CUA’s President John Garvey gave an address to the crowd. Then there was a Q&A session with Gregory. People got the chance to ask him questions about his faith life. He also was able to share some words of wisdom about the call to priesthood and marriage. He also talked about his experience of meeting Pope Francis. The night ended with the tables breaking into discussion sections about what they heard Gregory say.

“I thought Cardinal Gregory gave a great talk,” said sports marketing major Brian Reinhart “I really enjoyed what he had to say about community and how he highlighted being proud of our faith. I also enjoyed the emphasis on the call to priesthood and what he had to say about healthy Catholic couples form healthy Catholic families.”

This event was a part of a monthly series by Campus Ministry.

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