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Cardinal Gregory honored by North American College in Rome

Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory (at right) stands beside the Rector’s Award that was presented to him April 11 during the 30th annual Rector’s Dinner at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Posing with Cardinal Gregory are (from left) Msgr. Thomas Powers, rector of the Pontifical North American College, and Helena, Montana Bishop Austin Vetter, chairman of its Board of Governors. (Photo courtesy of Father Kevin Regan)

Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory was honored April 11 at the 30th annual Rector’s Dinner at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. The annual event recognizes those whom the seminary says “have been instrumental in the life of the college and the Church.”

“The North American College opens up the heritage of our Church for the young men preparing to become servant ministers in their local churches,” Cardinal Gregory said in accepting his honor. “I can never adequately express my gratitude for all that this wonderful institution has done for me and for countless thousands of others before me and those who currently call this place home.”

In addition to Cardinal Gregory – himself an alumnus of the North American College – also receiving the Rector’s Award at the annual dinner was Lory Mondaini, who served for more than 39 years as secretary to seven rectors of the college.

The “NAC has always been my port-of-entry to the wonders of Rome. I was especially blessed to begin my association with the College … (and) there I met so many wonderful priests, several of whom have remained lifelong friends,” Cardinal Gregory said.

“Rome itself prepares clergy, religious and laity to advance the mission of Christ. In this city, Venerable Augustus Tolton obtained his formation and became the first African-American priest to serve openly in the United States. He is now being considered to be listed among the Church’s saints,” Cardinal Gregory said.

The Pontifical North American College is the American seminary in Rome. Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the college has formed more than 5,000 priests for dioceses around the United States and Australia.