Cardinal Gregory Receives Illinois’ Order of Lincoln Award

State’s Highest Honor is for Public Service and Professional Achievement

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois– In an April 29 ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the Archbishop of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington (D.C.) along with five other laureates, was bestowed the Order of Lincoln, the highest honor in his home state.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Lincoln Academy Chancellor, the Honorable Ron Spears, presented this year’s laureates with a ribbon, medallion and certificate in a formal ceremony in the House Chamber.

“My heart will always be full of gratitude for you, Illinois,” said Cardinal Gregory in accepting the award. “It is with abundant appreciation and fondness for my home state that I accept this award, Thank you for recognizing me – way over there in Washington, D.C.– as a son of Illinois.”

Cardinal Gregory was honored as a native of Illinois who was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and eventually ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese before being named bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois and later becoming the Archbishop of Atlanta and, in 2019, the Archbishop of Washington.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, noted his Washington counterpart’s “exceptional faith journey” in a statement about the award.

“Chicagoans have taken pride in his numerous contributions to the faith and society, notably his service as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops when he championed the policies that ensured no priest with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse would ever serve in ministry.

“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.”

Illinois established the Order of Lincoln in 1964 to honor people from the state whose work “uplifts every community in the state.” More than 350 laureates have received the honor, including athletes, authors, politicians, civic leaders, scientists and performers. Among them have been theologian and television evangelist Archbishop Fulton Sheen; Cardinal Albert Meyer, who headed the Chicago Archdiocese until his death in 1965; President Ronald Reagan, and the late movie critic Roger Ebert.

The other laureates this year are: Jayne Carr Thompson, former Illinois first lady, author and litigator; Karen Hasara, a former state legislator and mayor of Springfield; John W. Rogers Jr., co-CEO of Ariel Investments; Thomas E. Skilling III, longtime chief meteorologist at WGN-TV; and Paula Wolff, policy advisor for three Illinois governors and currently policy adviser of the Illinois Justice Project.

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    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is home to more than 667,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 90 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s