By Elise Harris
On Sunday Pope Francis announced that he will hold a consistory of cardinals on the Nov. 19 vigil of the close of the Jubilee of Mercy, during which he will elevate 17 new cardinals – including three Americans.
“Dear brothers and sisters I am happy to announce that Saturday, Nov. 19 at the vigil for the closing of the Holy Door of mercy, a consistory will take place for the nomination of 13 cardinals from 5 continents,” the Pope said Oct. 9.
“The fact that they come from 11 nations expresses the universality of the Church, which announces and bears witness to the good news of the mercy of God in every corner of the earth.”
Opened Dec. 8, 2015 – the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – the Jubilee is set to close Nov. 20, with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Among the 17 new cardinal-elects are three Americans: Archbishop Blasé Cupich of Chicago, Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis and Bishop Kevin Farrell, prefect of the new Congregation for Laity, Family and Life.
Others of voting age include: Archbishop Mario Zenari, who is and will remain apostolic nuncio to the “beloved and martyred” Syria; Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui; Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid; Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of Brazil; Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dakha, Bangladesh; Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo of Merida, Venezuela; Archbishop Joseph de Kesel of Malines Brussels; Bishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis, Mauritius Island; Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico and Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
In addition to the 13 new electoral cardinals, Francis has nominated four others who are of non-voting age due to their notable service to the Church: Anthony Soter Fernandez, Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Renato Corti, Archbishop Emeritus of Novara and Sebastian Koto Khoarai, O.M.I, Bishop Emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho.
Additionally, he nominated Fr Ernest Simoni, an Albanian priest from the diocese of Shkodra, whose testimony of the persecution of the Albanian Church under the communist regime the Pope cried at during his 2014 daytrip to the country.
The consistory will be the third of Pope Francis’ pontificate, the most recent of which took place last year on Valentines Days.
Francis has, as in previous years, stuck close to his vision of having a broader, more universal representation of the Church in the College of Cardinals, elevating many bishops who come from small countries or islands that have never before had a cardinal, as well as from countries which present particular challenges in terms of pastoral outreach, such as those stricken with violence or persecution.
Out of the Pope’s new nominations, seven come from countries that have previously never had a cardinal, including: the Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Mauritius Island, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Lesotho and Albania.
With the 17 new cardinal-elects included, the number of voting cardinals comes to 121, and the number of non-voters to 107, for a grand total of 228.