Pope Francis named 21 new cardinals, including U.S.-born Archbishop Robert F. Prevost, who took the helm at the Dicastery for Bishops in April, and French Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The pope announced the names after his recitation of the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter's Square July 9. He said he would formally install the cardinals during a special consistory at the Vatican Sept. 30.

Cardinal-designate Prevost expressed his surprise and joy upon hearing the announcement, he said in an interview with Vatican News July 10.

"Certainly I felt happy for the recognition of the mission that has been entrusted to me -- which is a very beautiful thing -- and at the same time I thought with reverence and holy fear: I hope I can respond to what the pope is asking of me. It is an enormous responsibility, like when he called me to Rome as prefect," he said in Italian.

"I see it as the continuation of a mission that the pope has decided to give me," he added.

Speaking in English, Cardinal-designate Prevost said it is not a coincidence that Pope Francis scheduled the consistory before the start of the first general assembly of the synod on synodality, saying he is firmly convinced that "all of us are called to walk together."

The new cardinals represent more than a dozen countries on five continents. Three of the new cardinals are current Vatican officials, three are current or retired apostolic nuncios, 13 are current or retired heads of archdioceses around the world, one is a rector major of the Salesians and one is a 96-year-old confessor in Buenos Aires. Six belong to religious orders; two of them are Jesuits.

Continuing a papal custom, among the new cardinals were three churchmen -- two archbishops and a Capuchin Franciscan priest -- over the age of 80, whom Pope Francis said he wanted to honor because they were particularly deserving because of "their service to the church." Being over the age of 80, they are ineligible to vote in a conclave.

After the new cardinals are installed in late September, there will be 137 potential voters and the total membership of the College of Cardinals is expected to be 243.

The nomination of Cardinal-designate Prevost brings to 18 the number of U.S. cardinals; after the consistory, the U.S. contingent will include 11 potential papal electors.

The September ceremony will mark the ninth time Pope Francis has created cardinals since his election to the papacy in March 2013. After the ceremony Sept. 30, he will have created a total of 131 new cardinals in that College of Cardinals, which would make up about 54% of the total college and 72% of potential electors.

With the addition of six new cardinals under the age of 60, the average age of cardinal electors will get one year younger going from today's average age of 72 years 8 months to 71 years 6 months. Cardinal-designate Alves Aguiar of Lisbon, 49, will be just six months older than the youngest elector, Cardinal Giorgio Marengo of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 49.

Cardinal-designate Prevost, 67, was born in Chicago, and had served as bishop of Chiclayo, Peru, for more than eight years before being appointed to lead the Vatican body responsible for recommending to the pope candidates to fill the office of bishop in many of the Latin-rite dioceses of the world. Recommendations made by the dicastery are typically approved by the pope. Archbishop Prevost has been a member of the dicastery since November 2020.

He also oversees the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, established in 1958 by Pope Pius XII to study the church in Latin America, where nearly 40% of the world's Catholics reside.

The cardinal-designate holds degrees from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. An Augustinian friar, he joined the Augustinian mission in Peru in 1985 and largely worked in the country until in 1999, when he was elected head of the Augustinians' Chicago-based province. From 2001 to 2013, he served as prior general of the worldwide order.

In 2014, Pope Francis named him bishop of Chiclayo, in northern Peru, and the pope asked him also to be apostolic administrator of Callao, Peru, from April 2020 to May 2021. The pope then appointed him to succeed the retiring Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet as prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops in early 2023.

Cardinal-designate Pierre, 77, was born in Rennes, France. Ordained to the priesthood in 1970, he served as apostolic nuncio to Haiti, Uganda and Mexico until Pope Francis named him nuncio to the United States in 2016.


Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa prays with young Catholics from the U.S. at a gathering of the Neocatechumenal Way on the Mount of Beatitudes on July 19, 2022. (Courtesy Neocatechumenal Way via CNA)

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offered his congratulations and prayers to the new cardinals on behalf of the bishops of the United States July 9.

"Please join me in praying for Cardinal-designate Prevost and Cardinal-designate Pierre as they continue their lives of service to the universal church," Archbishop Broglio said. "For the church in the United States, their ministry has been a true blessing. Our episcopal conference rejoices in this sign of recognition of these distinguished churchmen."

Before he read the 21 names, Pope Francis told the estimated 15,000 people in St. Peter's Square that the diversity of the new cardinals "expresses the universality of the church, which continues to proclaim God's merciful love to all people on Earth."

The order in which the cardinals are announced determines their seniority in the College of Cardinals, which has little practical effect except in liturgical processions.

Here is the list of the new cardinals:

-- U.S.-born Archbishop Robert F. Prevost, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, 67.

-- Italian Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches, 67.

-- Argentine Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata, Argentina, incoming prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. He will turn 61 July 18.

-- Swiss Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, the apostolic nuncio to Argentina, 76.

-- French Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, 77.

-- Italian Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, 58.

-- South African Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, 66.

-- Argentine Archbishop Ángel Sixto Rossi of Córdoba, 64. He is a member of the Society of Jesus.

-- Colombian Archbishop Luis José Rueda Aparicio of Bogotá, 61.

-- Polish Archbishop Grzegorz Rys of Lódz, 59.

-- South Sudanese Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla of Juba, 59.

-- Spanish Archbishop José Cobo Cano of Madrid, 57.

-- Tanzanian Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, coadjutor archbishop of Tabora, 63.

-- Malaysian Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, Malaysia, 71.

-- Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-yan of Hong Kong, 63. Born in Hong Kong, he is a member of the Society of Jesus.

-- Bishop François-Xavier Bustillo of Ajaccio in Corsica, France, 54. Born in Spain, he is a member of the Conventual Franciscans.

-- Portuguese Auxiliary Bishop Américo Alves Aguiar of Lisbon, 49.

-- Spain-born Salesian Father Ángel Fernández Artime, rector major of the Salesians, 62.

Those named cardinal and over the age of 80:

-- Italian Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, a retired papal nuncio, a former curial official and a respected historian of the Second Vatican Council, 82.

-- Retired Archbishop Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez of Cumaná, Venezuela, 84.

-- Capuchin Father Luis Pascual Dri, confessor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei, Buenos Aires, 96.