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Pope names new cardinals from Laos, Mali, Sweden, Spain and El Salvador

A Consistory of Cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica, Nov. 4, 2012. Credit: Lewis Ashton Glancy/CNA.

ROME-Never one to shun surprises, Pope Francis today announced the creation of five new cardinals. The ceremony to induct the new Princes of the Church will take place on June 28, and the new cardinals will say Mass with him on the following day, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

The fact that the five cardinals come from “diverse parts from the world,” expresses the “Catholicity of the church, diffused throughout the earth,” Pope Francis said.

The five new cardinals are:

  • Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador in El Salvador;
  • Archbishop Jean Zerbo, of Bamako, Mali;
  • Bishop Anders Arborelius, of Stockholm, Sweden;
  • Archbishop Juan José Omella of Barcelona, Spain;
  • Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun Apostolic Administrator of Vientiane, Laos.

In keeping with his passion for the peripheries, four of the five men Francis named on Sunday represent countries that have never before had a cardinal: Mali, Sweden, El Salvador and Laos.

In what has become a trademark of this pontificate, Francis blindsided long-time Vatican watchers and even most of his closest collaborators alike when he announced the names of his new cardinals today. He did so at the end of his Sunday Regina Coeli prayer, which during the Easter season replaces the traditional Angelus.

“We entrust the new cardinals to the protection of St. Peter and Paul,” Francis said, “so that with the intercession of the prince of the apostles they are authentic servers of the ecclesial communion, and so that with that of the apostle of the peoples they are joyful announcers of the Gospel, and that with their witness and council they sustain me more intensely in my service as bishops of Rome, shepherd of the Universal Church.”

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