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Wilton Cardinal Gregory leading National Labor Day Mass today, National Press Club luncheon Wednesday

The nation's Black cardinal will headline two major events this week, starting today with the Catholic Labor Network's second annual Labor Day Mass.


Today begins a busy week for Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, starting with the National Labor Day Mass scheduled for 12pm CT in DC.

On Wednesday, he will headline the National Press Club’s Headliners Luncheon, also taking place in the nation's capital.

The first event is being sponsored by the archdiocese and the Catholic Labor Network, and will be streamed from Our Lady Queen of the Americas Catholic Church, a Hispanic parish.

Other speakers at the Mass will include Patti Devlin of the Laborers' International Union of North America, Yanira Merino of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and CLN’s executive director Clayton Sinyai.

“Join us as we honor labor, reflect on Catholic Social Teaching and pray for the millions of workers who have suffered in a special way during the pandemic,” reads a note on the event from the DC metro council of the AFL-CIO.

Founded in 2018, CLN hosted a similar event last year on Labor Day with Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, a markedly progressive prelate who has been close to the labor movement (among other social causes).

That event, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, was the first such event from CLN and, unlike this year’s iteration, was not referred to as a “national” event.

Gregory’s second big event this week, on the other hand, will instead be a sort of return, as other archbishops of Washington have headlined the NPC luncheon in the past. Gregory’s predecessor Cardinal Donald Wuerl also spoke to an audience there in 2015, concerning Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si’” letter.

The announcement of the September 8th event with Gregory made note of his being the first African-American cardinal in history, and calls him “a leading voice in the Catholic Church for racial and social justice, immigration reform, and numerous life issues.”

The NPC also noted his role in leading the Church’s response to the sex abuse crisis, when he was president of the USCCB during the early aughts.

Tickets for the Headliners Luncheon are being sold online at $25 for NPC members, $24 for students, and $45 for all others.

Scheduled for 11:30am CT, it will also be livestreamed on YouTube.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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