The 13 Cardinals were named on October 25 in what the Vatican News described as “a surprise” announcement by Pope Francis.
The new Cardinals, among them Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington who will become the first African-American Cardinal, are expected to be elevated to the rank of Cardinals at the November 28 consistory, on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent.
Three of the 13 named Cardinals will not be able to vote in conclaves because of their age limit. They include Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico; Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi; and Enrico Feroci, parish priest of Santa Maria del Divino Amore at Castel di Leva, Rome.
In his November 1 message, Rwanda’s President Kagame notes that the Archbishop Kambanda’s nomination, just two years after he was appointed Archbishop of Kigali, “is in itself a sign that he is gifted in the service of leadership in the house of the Lord.”
“It is also an indication that the Catholic Church of Rwanda has made an important stride in the last 120 years of its existence,” the Head of State that is located at the convergence between African Great Lakes region and East Africa says.
He further expresses his appreciation for the “great role” the members of the Catholic Church in Rwanda have played “in building the country after the 1994 Genocide especially in the unity and reconciliation of all Rwandans.”
“The Catholic Church continues to work with the government to improve the education, health, and well-being of Rwandans. All of these are to be proud of,” President Kagame says.
In the November 1 statement, President Kagame goes on to promise cooperation with the Cardinal-elect saying, “We promise collaboration with you in your new mission particularly and with the Church in general.”
Archbishop Kambamba who is the only African Cardinal-designate among the 13 appointed is a native of Nyamata in Rwanda’s Archdiocese of Kigali.