Pope Francis Names 17 New Cardinals, Three within African Territory
CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 10 October 2016
Pope Francis has named 17 new cardinals from 11 different countries, three of them ministering within the African territory: Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR), Bishop Emeritus Sebastian Koto Khoarai of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho, and Archbishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis on the island of Mauritius.
The Pope made the announcement Sunday, October 9, during his weekly Sunday address that followed the noon-time Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
The Pope will elevate the new Cardinals on November 19, during the vigil of the conclusion of the Jubilee year of mercy to be marked on Sunday, November 20, on the Solemnity of Christ the King.
At the age of 49, Cardinal-designate Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui will become the youngest Catholic Cardinal globally, taking the slot held by Soane Patita Paini Cardinal Mafi of Tonga in the Oceania Pacific who will be turning 55 on 19 December 2016.
Known to be a defender of peace in CAR, the Cardinal-designate will also become the first Cardinal ever in his country.
He belongs to the Missionary Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans). Since his ordination to the priesthood in 1998, he ministered in Marseilles in France as a chaplain at the St. Francis de Sales house and at the Parish of St. Jerome. He returned to CAR from France in 2005. A year later, he was elected the Spiritan Regional Superior for his region.
The Cardinal-designate became the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Bangui following the resignation of Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo in 2009. He was ordained Bishop in July 2012.
Other Prelates to become Cardinals in ecclesial territories that have never had a cardinal include Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Pope Francis also named Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin the first cardinal elector of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo the first cardinal elector of Merida, Venezuela; and Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes the first archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, to be a cardinal elector.
Aged 87, Bishop Emeritus Sebastian Koto Khoarai of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho retired in February 2014 having served as Bishop since April 1978.
Another Prelate named Cardinal within the African territory is Archbishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis on the island of Mauritius, also a member of the missionary Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers.
Aged 75, Archbishop Piat has been serving as Bishop since May 1991.
Although the Republic of Mauritius is an overseas department of France, it is within the African territory as an island nation in the Indian Ocean, some 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of Africa.
Cardinal-designate Piat has been quoted as telling Vatican Radio soon after the Pope’s announcement on Sunday that he is “very thankful to Pope Francis for having called me to such a responsibility. I am very touched by the trust he puts in me which is far from being deserved. I am at his disposal for whatever service he will ask of me…”
13 out of the 17 Cardinals-designate are able to take part in the election of a new Pope in conclave since they are under the age of 80.
Cardinals are usually senior Catholic prelates serving as Archbishops or Bishops in the world’s largest Archdioceses or dioceses or in the Vatican’s central bureaucracy.
They have the unique role of gathering in the secret conclave to elect a new Pope.
Below is the full list of the Cardinals-designate Pope Francis named on Sunday
Monsignor Mario Zenari, Vatican ambassador to Syria.
Monsignor Dieudonné Nzapalainga, archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic.
Monsignor Carlos Osoro Sierra, archbishop of Madrid.
Monsignor Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil.
Monsignor Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago.
Monsignor Patrick D’Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Monsignor Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, archbishop of Merida, Venezuela.
Monsignor Jozef De Kesel, archbishop of Malines-Brussels, Belgium.
Monsignor Maurice Piat, archbishop of Port Louis, Mauritius.
Monsignor Kevin Joseph Farrell, outgoing archbishop of Dallas and new prefect of the Vatican dicastry for laity, family and life.
Monsignor Carlos Aguiar Retes, archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico.
Monsignor John Ribat, archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Monsignor Joseph William Tobin, archbishop of Indianapolis.
Cardinals named Sunday by Pope Francis who are over age 80 and thus ineligible to vote in a conclave:
Monsignor Anthony Soter Fernandez, emeritus archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Monsignor Renato Corti, emeritus archbishop of Novara, Italy.
Monsignor Sebastian Koto Khoarai, emeritus bishop of Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho.
Rev. Ernest Simoni, presbyter of the archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult, Albania.