Washington D.C’s first Black archbishop is now also the first African-American cardinal.
Pope Francis announced 13 new cardinals Sunday in a surprise declaration from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, including Wilton Gregory, who was tapped as archbishop in the nation’s capital last year.
Gregory, 73, previously led the Archdiocese of Atlanta and has spoken forcefully about the need for improved race relations in the Church. He replaced Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who resigned in October 2018 over criticism of his handling of sexual assault allegations.
“Ours is the task and the privilege of advancing the goals that were so eloquently expressed 57 years ago by such distinguished voices on that day,” Gregory said during an August Mass that marked the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. “Men and women, young and old, people of every racial and ethnic background are needed in this effort.”
Pope Francis announced Sunday that Wilton Gregory and 12 others will be appointed cardinals. (Andrew Harnik/)
Nine of the 13 newly appointed cardinals are under the age of 80, making them eligible to vote in the next conclave to select Francis’ successor.
Rain down, rain down, rain down your love on your people. Rain down, rain down, rain down your love, God of life. 1. Faithful and true is the word of our God; all of God’s works are so worthy of trust. God’s mercy falls on the just and the right; full of God’s love is the earth. 2. We who revere and find hope in our God live in the kindness and joy of God’s wing. God will protect us from darkness and death; God will not leave us to starve.
The season of Lent is a Catholic (Christian) liturgical season consisting of forty days of fasting, prayer, and penitence beginning at Ash Wednesday and concluding at sundown on Holy Thursday. The official liturgical color for the season of Lent is violet. This year, Lent begins on March 6, 2019 and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, April 18, 2019.
The word Lent derives from the Middle English word lenten, meaning springtime – the time of lengthening days. There is biblical support for doing penance, in both the Old and New Testaments. Ash Wednesday dates from at least the fourth century, although it is not possible to give an exact date. During that century, penitents looking for forgiveness and re-entry into the community would dress in sackcloth and sprinkle ashes to show their repentance. As Lent increasingly focused on the themes of repentance and renewal, Christians sensed their own need for repentance. The practice of distribution of ashes to all members of the community is mentioned in official documents of 1091.
Many Catholics were taught as children to “give up something” for Lent. Christians have found prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to be an important part of repentance and renewal. Many Catholics now add something during Lent rather than giving up something, either to address personal habits that need work or to add some outreach to others in need.
The Church does not specifically require that we do something beyond the requirements of fasting and abstinence. To do nothing, however, would certainly not be in keeping with the spirit of Lent. Furthermore, the sacrifices and extra things we do for Lent help us grow closer to Christ. We are missing out on so many graces if we do not participate fully in Lent. It is not necessary to be perfect, but we should put forth a good effort.
A good practice is to do something extra in prayer, something involving fasting (whether limiting our intake of food or giving up something non food-related), and something involving almsgiving (giving money or goods to the needy or doing extra acts of charity).