Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond As the 14th Archbishop of New Orleans, Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond holds the unique distinction of being the first New Orleans native to serve as Archbishop of New Orleans in the 216-year history of the local church.
Archbishop Aymond has served since 2000 as Bishop of Austin, Texas.
He was born in Gentilly on November 12, 1949. After attending St. James Major Elementary School and Cor Jesu High School, he went to St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, La., where he graduated in 1971. He earned a master's degree in divinity from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in 1975 and was ordained as a priest of the New Orleans Archdiocese the same year.
From 1973 to 1981, he was a professor, business administrator and then rector of St. John Vianney Preparatory Seminary in New Orleans. From 1981 to 1986, he was professor of pastoral theology and homiletics and director of education at Notre Dame Seminary.
The bishop served as president-rector of Notre Dame Seminary from 1986 until the end of the 1999-2000 academic year, longer than any rector in the seminary's history. He also was a member of the seminary faculty for 18 years. During his tenure, Notre Dame Seminary grew to become the third-largest seminary in the country.
Bishop Aymond also served as the executive director of the archdiocesan Department of Christian Formation, with responsibility for Catholic schools and religious education, and as the archdiocesan director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
He made mission work a strong emphasis of his ministry. In the 1980s, Bishop Aymond and groups of Notre Dame seminarians began to visit Sotuto, Mexico, where they built housing and offered religious training.
In 1994, he began a medical mission program in Nicaragua called 'Christ the Healer,' taking volunteer teams of health care professionals to the town of Granada to offer medical help at San Juan de Dios Hospital.
Archbishop Aymond was ordained an auxiliary bishop of New Orleans in 1997 and became coadjutor bishop of Austin in 2000, succeeding to head the diocese. Archbishop Aymond has served as chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People. He also was chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Educational Association from 2000-04.
He currently serves as a member of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
Under his tenure, the Diocese of Austin experienced unprecedented expansion, including a threefold increase in the number of seminarians. He established the Institute for Spiritual Direction, opened San Juan Diego Catholic High School for students from low-income families, opened St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School and initiated a distance learning program with St. Mary's University in San Antonio that allows lay people in the Austin Diocese to obtain master's degrees in theology.
Archbishop Aymond succeeds Archbishop Alfred Clifton Hughes, 76, who has served as archbishop of New Orleans since 2002 and has led local Catholics through the challenging aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans has a population of 1.08 million people, with about 387,000, or 36 percent, of them Catholic.