He was ordained to the priesthood in 1965 by Archbishop Paul Hallinan at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. He also served under Gregory.
Gracz is survived by his sister, Joan Evaniak; nephews Mark Evaniak and Dean Evaniak; and nieces Cynthia Kearns (Lance) and Pamela Alexander (John).
Funeral arrangements are Vespers at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 and funeral mass at 11 a.m. Feb. 24. Doors will open at 10 a.m. for the Mass. Both services will be at the Shrine.
Gregory, the first Black cardinal from the United States, will be in town for the 10th anniversary gala of Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School. Gregory, the former archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, will receive the “2024 Rey of Light Award.”
After leaving Atlanta, Gregory served as archbishop of Washington, D.C. In 2020, Pope Francis named Gregory one of 13 new cardinals to wear the coveted red hat. He’s also a former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Gracz’s remains will be placed in a crypt at the Shrine, according to the archdiocese.