The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, S.L.D.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory

Presentation: “The One and the Many: Priests and the Local Presbyterate”

50 years after the establishment of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, you should rejoice and take some pride at the spirit of fraternity that Priests’ Councils have been able to help develop across the country. In addition to the ministerial collaboration that our councils have striven to establish with the local bishop, there is also the equally important strengthening of the bonds of fraternity that these bodies have created. I would like to reflect on 50 years of this development and to raise some of the challenges that we still face as bishops and priests working together for the mission of the Church and the development of closer unity among those who share the Ordained Priesthood of Jesus Christ in our local Churches.

Biography: The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, S.L.D.

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 St. Joseph’s College Seminary) of Loyola University and St. 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, IL as a member of the faculty of St. 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, IL 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.

In the time since Archbishop Gregory’s arrival, the Archdiocese has:

  • Grown to approximately 1.2 million Catholics
  • Elevated nine parishes and established six missions resulting in 103 parishes and missions
  • Ordained 64 priests and 152 permanent deacons
  • Baptized nearly 150,000 infants, children, and adults; and brought over 16,000 people into full communion with the Catholic Church

NFPC This Week, #744: January 21-27, 2018

Here is your NFPC This Week for January 21 to January 27, 2018:


Dan Snow will no longer be compiling This Week. Responsibility for the e-letter will pass on to the NFPC’s newest employee, Vill Harmon ([email protected]).

Vill joined the NFPC following a seven-year tenure with the Archdiocese of Chicago in the Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Department.  A native Chicagoan, Vill is also very active at Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church where she recently completed ten years of service as a Catechist, and most recently, became a member of the parish’s newly-formed Interfaith Committee. Vill is also very involved with the Chicago area Focolare Movement.


“Proud to be Catholic: a groundbreaking America survey asks women about their lives in the Church” – A reflection by Fr. Jim Hewes

Clergy News

‘If they come for you, they come for me’: A ‘dreamer’ priest faces deportation — and a divided congregation

Dairy farm to the episcopate: Stockton gets a new bishop

Archbishop-Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein, OSB, 79, has died at Saint Meinrad Archabbey

7 Steps to Support the Newly Ordained

Chicago priest pledges hunger strike to support ‘Dreamers’

National and Global Highlights

Catholic bishops side with labor unions in Supreme Court case

10 Roman Catholic priests arrested in protests in Congo

Pope tells 1.3 million in Peru to get involved, spurn ‘Jonah syndrome’

Creating a ‘Safe Haven’ From the Pornography Pandemic

Pope Francis Unusually Isolated in Chilean Priest Sex Abuse Scandal


Seventeenth Annual Acculturation Seminar for International Priests

Association of Chicago Priests’ 51st Annual Mardi Gras & Ministry Awards

7 Steps to Support the Newly Ordained

(Photo: Pixabay)

Msgr. Stephen Rossetti has written a new article in The Priest magazine. It is summarized as follows:

Young priests may leave the priesthood for a variety of reasons, but to help the newly ordained find their way, support systems from other clergy can be helpful. Msgr. Rossetti identifies seven articles that can help young priests, and benefit older ones as well.

Msgr. Rossetti’s list (abbreviated for brevity and available in its entirety by clicking here) includes:

  • Mentoring
  • Private prayer
  • Attendance at gatherings
  • Support groups
  • Developing relationship skills
  • Establishing a separate personal space
  • Outpatient psychotherapy

There is a strong need to act quickly when priests are feeling burned out, and to apply ministerial adjustments or healing resources as needed. Action needs to be taken before the priest goes to declare his intent to leave the priesthood. Mentorship between older priests and the newly ordained could be crucial in guiding new priests through difficult years.

While priests are generally happy and satisfied in their work, sometimes extra support is needed. This support is useful not just to new priests, but to all who share the vocation.

For the full article in The Priest magazine, click here.

Chicago priest pledges hunger strike to support ‘Dreamers’

St Procopius Church in Chicago (Photo: St. Procopius/Providence of God Parish)

CHICAGO – As of January 25, Father Gary Graf hasn’t had solid food in 10 days. He has committed to a hunger strike in support of the “Dreamers,” the several hundred thousand illegal immigrants granted protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Based out of St. Procopius Church in the city’s traditionally Hispanic neighborhood of Pilsen, Father Graf plans to continue his strike until a deal is reached to keep the “Dreamers” secure. He plans to live off of water, protein powder, and the Eucharist until at least March 5, the White House’s deadline to end the DACA program.

Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich has offered support, and has asked the members of his Presbyteral Council to consider fasting one day per week in solidarity.

Father Graf’s strike underlines his deep sympathy for Mexican and other immigrants, immigrants who form a crucial part of his parish community.

“As a priest, I’m very well aware every single day of my life that parents — all parents — sacrifice their lives for their children,” Graf said. “I don’t have my own children, and as my spiritual children, this is my opportunity to also be in solidarity with them.”

For the full article in the Chicago Tribune, click here.

Dairy farm to the episcopate: Stockton gets a new bishop

Bishop Myron J. Cotta (Photo: Diocese of Sacramento)

STOCKTON – Bishop Myron Joseph Cotta, 64, was appointed the new Bishop of Stockton for the Californian diocese on January 23.

An auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Sacramento, Bishop Cotta will replace Bishop Stephen Blaire. Blaire has recerntly passed the age of 75, when bishops are required to submit letters of resignation to the pope.

Bishop Cotta was born March 21, 1953, and grew up on a dairy farm in Merced County, California. He received an associate’s degree in 1973 from West Hills Junior College before entering the St. John’s College Seminary in Camarillo in 1980.

Ordained in the Diocese of Fresno in 1987, his pastoral assignments have included the parish of St. Anthony in Atwater, the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Laton, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles in Gustine.

Cotta was named auxiliary bishop of Sacramento in 2014 and was ordained on March
25, 2014.

For the full story via the Catholic News Agency, click here.

10 Roman Catholic priests arrested in protests in Congo

Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in April 2016 (Photo: Wikimedia)

KINSHASA, DRC – Tensions continue to escalate in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following protests organized by Catholic leaders. Recent protests began following Mass services on Sunday, January 21, and led to the deaths of an estimated six people, the wounding of 100 more, and the arrest of 10 priests. Two nuns are reportedly missing, and 200 more non-clergy were arrested.

The protests were called against DRC President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001. Catholic bishops had organized an agreement in which Kabila was supposed allow for elections, but this transition of power has been delayed by more than a year. Opposition to the government continues to fester and the Catholic Church’s position in brokering talks with the government has made it a focal point for opposition.

Late in December 2017, approximately seven people died during protests against the Kabila government, and the government response included the arrest of altar boys.

For the full story via the Religious News Service, click here.

The DRC’s bishops have asked for the intervention of President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the neighboring Republic of Congo to help broker a true agreement for elections (The DRC and Republic of Congo share a long border, and their national capitals are on opposite sides of the Congo River).

The government of President Kabila in the DRC has postponed elections until December 23, 2018, and there is great doubt over whether they will occur.

About half of the 80 million citizens of the DRC are Catholic, and the Church remains one of the few respected and organized institutions in the African nation.

“The Church has become the most credible institution in the country and consequently finds herself in the line of fire. But it is necessary, because no one else dares to protest,” said Father Apollinaire Cibaka Cikongo, a professor at the seminary of Christ the King (Christ Roi) in Malole, Kananga.

For an overview of the problems in the DRC through Crux, click here.

Catholic bishops side with labor unions in Supreme Court case

(Photo: Wikimedia)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops filed an amicus brief on Friday, January 19, in an upcoming case before the Supreme Court.

The USCCB filed in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), voicing their support for the union in its challenge from the State of Illinois over the right to collect money from nonmembers for collective bargaining.

AFSCME is the nation ‘s largest union of public employees, and is arguing for the right to collect “fair-share fees” from nonmembers in order to cover the costs of representing all employees in collective bargaining.

The bishops’ amicus brief noted the American Church’s longstanding opposition to “right-to-work” laws dating back to the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which authorized states to pass such legislation. The bishops also cited papal
statements and encyclicals on workers’ rights dating back to Leo XIII’s Rerum novarum.

The brief states that a ruling against AFSCME “would represent another unfortunate decision of this Court that marginalizes the voice of the bishops with respect to an important public policy debate by declaring their position to lie beyond the constitutional pale.”

Oral arguments for Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees are scheduled to begin on February 28.

For the full story in the National Catholic Reporter, click here.

Pope Francis Unusually Isolated in Chilean Priest Sex Abuse Scandal

Former Secretary of State John Kerry greets Pope Francis at Andrews Air Force Base on September 24, 2015 (Photo: Wikimedia)

Pope Francis’s trip to Chile and Peru was destined to confront difficult issues, but it was a long festering controversy that brought international attention from major news organizations.

Father Fernando Karadima has been a central figure in the sex abuse crisis in Chile. A national Catholic leader, his parish produced dozens of priests and five bishops, and Father Karadima served as a mentor for Bishop Juan Barros. When Fr. Karadima was accused of sexual abuse, Bishop Barros was seen as covering up the priest’s activities. In 2015, Pope Francis opted to appoint Barros from being the military bishop to being the bishop of the Diocese of Osorno. Protests and criticism of the decision were fierce, and Barros’s installation Mass as bishop was cut short by protestors.

At St. Peter’s in 2015, Pope Francis accused Bishop Barros’s critics of being manipulated by “leftists,” infuriating many lay people in Chile. The 2018 visit to Chile had the pope’s comments looming from the beginning, as Chile’s Catholic Church reeled from the controversy. Many priests and bishops in Chile had opposed Barros’s appointment in 2015, and few wanted to stir the controversy in 2018.

During the recent trip, the pope stated there was no proof against Barros, and called the accusations “calumny.” This comment led Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston to issue a comment stating that it was understandable that Francis’s comments caused “great pain” for sexual-abuse victims.

Pope Francis later apologized for his choice of wording, but Chile’s Catholics will be debating the effects of the papal visit for some time. For a politically (and media) savvy pope, the Barros affair brought criticism and negative press typically not seen during such a visit.

For the full article in the National Catholic Register, click here.

Pope tells 1.3 million in Peru to get involved, spurn ‘Jonah syndrome’

(Photo: Pixabay)

LIMA – Bidding farewell to Peru and South America, Pope Francis urged Catholics on Sunday, January 21, to avoid the urge to pull away upon seeing something terrible or difficult, just as the prophet Jonah did when he was charged to proclaim the Lord’s judgment on the city of Nineveh but instead became terrified and fled.

“Our cities, with their daily situations of pain and injustice, can leave us tempted to flee, to hide, to run away,” he said. “Jonah, and us, we have plenty of excuses to do so.”

The pope called on the faithful to be involved in the problems facing the world and not to be afraid of action.

“Today,” he said, “the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city.”

Pope Francis made his comments on the end of his visit to Peru, which followed on the heels of his visit to Chile. The pope was celebrating a public Mass on a Peruvian air base for an
estimated 1.3 million attendees. The Mass marked the conclusion of a trip that began on
January 15. Pope Francis arrived back in Rome on January 22.

For the full story in Crux, click here.

Creating a ‘Safe Haven’ From the Pornography Pandemic

(Photo: Pexels)

NEW ORLEANS – “Save Haven Sunday” is one of the first steps in a new program being developed by the Archdiocese of New Orleans to combat pornography and sexually explicit material. Its aim is to inform parents, teachers, and clergy about the dangers of porn, and to provide tools to combat a global issue.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans had asked an archdiocesan team to create a five-year pastoral plan to combat pornography, and that plan will be introduced on February 17-18, 2018 during “Safe Haven Sunday,” a weekend planned for addressing the problem within a liturgical context.

According to the National Catholic Register: “Homilies and prayer petitions will deal with the pornography problem, and parishes will distribute the book Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture, which tells about a free seven-day email program offering practical tips on creating safe digital environments in the home. Anyone can enroll in the program by texting the word “secure” to 66866.”

“Safe Haven Sunday” is seen as a sort of test to see how the faithful will respond to the effort, and how the archdiocese can best utilize its resources.

New Orleans is reporting that the initial response to its program has been overwhelming, and that many are happy that the Church in the area is confronting a difficult issue.

Archbishop Aymond agrees, and notes that despite the topic’s importance, it has often been ignored: “I think it’s one of the greatest moral issues of our day, and people are not very willing to talk about it. It’s the elephant in the room.”

For more information via the National Catholic Register, click here.