Bishop Wilton Gregory, former USCCB President, new Archbishop of Atlanta
Bishop Wilton Gregory, former USCCB President, new Archbishop of Atlanta

.- Pope John Paul II has named the Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, untill now Bishop of Belleville, as the sixth Archbishop of Atlanta.

Bishop Gregory has served as Bishop of Belleville, Illinois since February 1994 and recently completed a three-year term as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop Gregory will be installed on Monday, January 17, 2005. He replaces The Most Reverend John F. Donoghue, who is retiring after serving the Archdiocese since 1993. No announcement was made regarding a successor for Bishop Gregory in Belleville.

Born December 7, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, Bishop Gregory attended Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary. Three years after his ordination to the priesthood he began graduate studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (Sant’ Anselmo) in Rome, where he earned a doctorate in Sacred Liturgy in 1980.

He was ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973, and was ordained a Bishop on December 13, 1983, after serving as an associate pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, a faculty member at Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, and a Master of Ceremonies to Cardinals Cody and Bernardin.

Bishop Gregory was installed as the Seventh Bishop of Belleville on February 10, 1994.

From November 2001 until November 2004, Bishop Gregory served as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops following three years as Vice President under Bishop Joseph Fiorenza.

During that time Bishop Gregory also served on the USCCB Executive and Administrative Committees and on the Administrative Board.

Responding to the appointment, the bishop said, "I welcome the opportunity to serve the people of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. I am deeply grateful to the Holy Father for his confidence and support. While I will serve more Catholics in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, I cannot imagine how I could shepherd better people than those I have found in southern Illinois. The people of the Diocese of Belleville will always have a secure place in my heart and prayers. I hope they remember me in theirs."

Bishop Gregory  will head a news conference at 1:30pm ET today.

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