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A Precedent-Setting President

June 14, 2002

Who: Wilton D. Gregory

Age: 53

Position: Leader of the Belleville, Ill., diocese since 1994; last year became the first African American to be president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Background: A Chicago native, Gregory was ordained in 1973 after completing studies at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary. He earned a doctorate in sacred liturgy at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in Rome. He has written extensively on the church's opposition to the death penalty and physician-assisted suicide. As president of the bishops' organization, he has dealt with trying to restore the church's credibility in the wake of the priest sex scandals while also dealing with the issue of racism and the church.

Quote: "The thirst for justice and brotherhood must always remain a deep craving for all those who belong to Christ."

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