Pope Francis appoints first black American cardinal, Wilton Gregory

Last year, Wilton Gregory made history as Washington, DC’s first African-American archbishop.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory poses for a portrait following mass at St Augustine Church in Washington, DC on June 2, 2019.

On Sunday, speaking following his Angelus prayer from St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis tapped Gregory to become America’s first black cardinal.

Archbishop Gregory is one of 13 to be elevated to the rank at a surprise consistory, or ceremony.

In fact, Archbishop Gregory is the only black archbishop in the United States.

Since 2005, he had led the Archdiocese of Atlanta, before being appointed Archbishop of Washington, DC in 2019.

Cardinals’ primary responsibility is to elect a new pope, should he step down or die.

Pope Francis confirmed that nine of the 13 new cardinals are under the age of 80, which means they would be eligible to elect his successor.

The ceremony to install the new cardinals will take place on November 28.