Employees of the Archdiocese of Washington gathered for an April 4 Mass at the St. Ursula Chapel in the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center, celebrated by Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, just hours after the official announcement that Pope Francis has appointed him to lead the archdiocese.

Archbishop Gregory was joined by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archdiocese of Washington’s apostolic administrator, as well as Washington Auxiliary Bishops Roy Campbell Jr., Mario Dorsonville and Michael Fisher.

Archbishop Gregory speaks to employees of the Archdiocese of Washington during Mass. (Archdiocese of Washington photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann)

Opening the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl said the Archdiocese of Washington is grateful to Pope Francis for sending a bishop who has many pastoral gifts and a record of “proven leadership.” The employees of the archdiocese welcomed Archbishop Gregory with a round of applause, as the archbishop-designate said, “my joy today is completely out of touch” with the solemnness of Lent.

“I can not tell you how happy I am to be with you and to become a part of you,” he said.

In his homily, Archbishop Gregory reflected on the readings of the day, and said “Scripture always reveals God’s truth,” and the person of Jesus “reveals God Himself.”

During the prayers of the faithful, the congregation prayed for Archbishop Gregory, “that he may be given the grace of the Holy Spirit to faithfully and lovingly minister to the Archdiocese of Washington.” They also prayed for the people of the archdiocese, that as they are “led by a new shepherd, we may recognize anew that we belong to the Lord.”

Archbishop Wilton Gregory, at center, celebrates an April 4 Mass at the Archdiocese of Washington Pastoral Center. He is joined by, from left to right, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fisher; Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archdiocese's apostolic administrator; and Washington Auxiliary Bishops Mario Dorsonville and Roy Campbell Jr. (Archdiocese of Washington photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann)

As he shared his joy about becoming the next Archbishop of Washington, Archbishop Gregory also asked his new flock to pray for his flock that he will be leaving in Atlanta, where he has served as archbishop since 2005. He will be installed as the archbishop of Washington on May 21.

At a luncheon following the Mass, Archbishop Gregory noted how there is always an awkward period during a move when one does not know where to find anything in the new place, but said with this transition he is already starting to feel welcome.

“As I leave the Archdiocese of Atlanta, I leave a family I love dearly,” he said. “But just walking into this new house, I think I know where things are.”