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Chicago native Cardinal Wilton Gregory named Order of Lincoln Laureate

Cardinal Wilton Gregory

Photo caption: Cardinal Wilton Gregory

Now the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory returned to the state he was born and raised to receive its highest honor for professional achievement and public service on April 29, 2023. Cardinal Gregory along with five others became the 2023 recipients of the Order of Lincoln from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

During the installation ceremony, Cardinal Gregory was presented with the Lincoln Medallion by the chancellor of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, Ronald Spears. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker presented the cardinal with a signed and sealed certificate attesting to his investiture as a Laureate of the Order of Lincoln.

The Archdiocese of Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich in a statement said, “Cardinal Wilton Gregory’s exceptional faith journey began more than six decades ago at St. Carthage Catholic School on the South Side of Chicago. There, he felt God’s call to the priesthood even though he was not a Catholic.

He was received into the Church at the age of 11 and continued his studies in the archdiocesan schools and seminaries until he was ordained in 1973.

In recognition of his extraordinary gifts and devotion, he was ordained a bishop in 1983. Chicagoans have taken pride in his numerous contributions to the faith and society, notably his strength when, as Bishop of Belleville and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he championed the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth, including policies that ensured no priest with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse would ever serve in ministry.

His lifetime of service to the Lord, God’s People and society has been recognized many times by Church and secular entities.

We are particularly pleased that this son of Chicago has been named a Laureate of the Order of Lincoln and join Governor Pritzker in congratulating him.”

‘The Order of Lincoln was established in 1964 by Proclamation of Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. to honor Illinois residents whose work uplifts every community in the state. The six recipients join more than 350 distinguished Illinois residents who have joined the Order of Lincoln over the last five decades.

This year’s Lincoln Laureates were honored at the 59th annual Convocation in the Illinois House of Representatives chamber at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. The other recipients are Jayne Carr Thompson, former First Lady of Illinois; Karen Hasara, Illinois State Representative and Senator, two-term mayor of Springfield, and teacher; John W. Rogers, Jr., Co-CEO of Ariel Investments; Thomas E. Skilling III, long-time chief meteorologist on WGN-TV and Chicago Tribune daily weather columnist; and Paula Wolff, policy advisor for three Illinois governors and former President of Governors State University. Wolff is currently the Policy Advisor of the Illinois Justice Project.

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