Pope Francis Names 21 New Cardinals, Including Two from Africa

Newly named Cardinals from Africa: Bishop Peter Okpaleke of Nigeria’s Ekwulobia Diocese (left) and Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Wa Diocese in Ghana (right). Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has said that he will create 21 new Cardinals, including two Bishops from Africa, one from Nigeria and the other from Ghana.

Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square after reciting the Regina Coeli prayer on Sunday, May 29, the Holy Father announced that he will hold a Consistory in August during which he will create the new Cardinals.

“On Saturday, 27 August, I will hold a Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals. Let us pray that they will help me in my mission as Bishop of Rome for the good of all God's people,” Pope Francis said May 29.

Bishop Peter Okpaleke of Nigeria’s Ekwulobia Diocese, and Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Wa Diocese in Ghana are the two newly named Cardinals from Africa.

The list of the new Cardinals includes eight from Europe, six from Asia, four from Central and Latin America, and one from North America. Five of the newly named Cardinals are over the age of 80.


Currently, the College of Cardinals comprises 208 Cardinals; of these, 117 Cardinals are below the age of 80 and are therefore Cardinal electors; the remaining 91 are non-electors. Of all the current Cardinal electors, 67 have been appointed by Pope Francis.

Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has created 101 cardinals from 58 countries at seven Consistories.

When Pope Francis holds the Consistory and creates the 21 new Cardinals, the College of Cardinals will expand to 229 Cardinals.

The last Consistory to create new cardinals took place on 28 November 2020. Pope Francis created 13 new cardinals including Archbishop Antoine Kambanda of Rwanda’s Kigali Archdiocese who became the first-ever Cardinal in the landlocked nation in the Great Rift Valley located at the convergence between African Great Lakes region and East Africa.

Immediately following the 2020 consistory, Pope Francis had appointed 73 of the members of the College of Cardinals eligible to vote a future conclave. Pope Benedict XVI, the immediate predecessor of Pope Francis, had named 39 of the Cardinal electors. Earlier, John Paul II had appointed 16 Cardinal electors.

More in Africa

This is the full list of the newly named Cardinals:

  • Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke, Ekwulobia Diocese (Nigeria).
  • Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr, Wa Diocese (Ghana).
  • Archbishop Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (United Kingdom).
  • Archbishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Prefect for the Congregation for Clergy (South Korea).
  • Archbishop Fernando Vergez Alzaga, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State (Spain).
  • Archbishop Jean-Marc Aveline, Marseille Archdiocese (France).
  • Archbishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, of Manaus (Brazil).
  • Archbishop Filipe Neri António Sebastião of Rosário Ferrão, of Goa e Damão (India).
  • Bishop Robert Walter McElroy, of San Diego (United States)
  • Archbishop Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva, of Dili (East Timor).
  • Bishop Oscar Cantoni, of Como (Italy).
  • Archbishop Anthony Poola, of Hyderabad (India).
  • Archbishop Paulo Cezar Costa, of Brasília (Brazil).
  • Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye, of Singapore (Singapore).
  • Archbishop Adalberto Martínez Flores, of Asunción (Paraguay).
  • Archbishop Giorgio Marengo, Prefect of Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia).

Five are over the age of 80:

  • Archbishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cartagena (Colombia).
  • Archbishop Lucas Van Looy sdb, Archbishop Emeritus of Ghent (Belgium).
  • Archbishop Arrigo Miglio, Archbishop Emeritus of Cagliari (Italy).
  • Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ (Italy).

Monsignor Fortunato Frezza (Italy).


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