Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including a Rwandan and the first African American prelate to earn the coveted red hat.
The new cardinals under the age of 80 will join fellow cardinals eligible to elect the next pontiff in a secret conclave.
The Kigali, Rwanda, Archbishop Antoine Kambanda and Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory were among the churchmen who would be elevated to a cardinal’s rank in a ceremony on November 28.
Gregory is the first black U.S. prelate to earn the coveted red hat, noted the Associated Press, a reminder of deeply racist the Catholic church has operated for centuries.
AP said other new cardinals include an Italian who is the long-time papal preacher at the Vatican, the Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan friar; the Capiz, Phillipines ,Archbishop Jose Feurte Advincula, and the Santiago, Chile, Archbishop Celestino Aos. Another Franciscan who was tapped is Friar Mauro Gambetti in charge of the Sacred Convent in Assisi.
The Pope made the surprise announcement from his studio to faithful standing below St. Peter’s Square.