Pope Francis has named 13 new cardinals.
Among them is Washington DC Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who will become the first black US prelate to earn the coveted red cap.
In a surprise announcement from his studio window to the faithful standing below in St Peter’s Square, Francis said the churchmen will be elevated to a cardinal’s rank in a ceremony on November 28.
Other new cardinals include an Italian who is the long-time papal preacher at the Vatican, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan friar; Kigali Archbishop Antoine Kambanda; Capiz Archbishop Jose Feurte Advincula, and Santiago Archbishop Celestino Aos.
Another Franciscan who has been elevated is Friar Mauro Gambetti, in charge of the Sacred Convent in Assisi.
The Pope, when elected in 2013, chose St Francis of Assisi as his namesake saint and earlier this month the pontiff visited the hill town in Umbria to sign an encyclical, or important church teaching document, about brotherhood.
In a reflection of the Pope’s stress on helping those in need, especially the poor, Francis also named the former director of the Rome Catholic charity, Caritas, the Reverend Enrico Feroci, to be a cardinal.
Maltese prelate Monsignor Mario Grech; Monsignor Marcello Semeraro, an Italian serving as prefect of the Vatican office that runs the saint-making process; Bishop Cornelius Sim, apostolic vicar of Brunei; the Italian archbishop of Siena and nearby towns in Tuscany, Augusto Lojudice; the retired bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, Monsignor Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, and an Italian former Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, round off the list.
Mr Wilton was picked by Francis to lead the prestigious diocese in the US capital last year.
He served three times as the head of the US Conference of Bishops.
New cardinals under the age of 80 will join fellow cardinals eligible to elect the next pontiff in a secret conclave.
No details were immediately given by the Vatican about the consistory, as the formal ceremony to make the churchmen cardinals is known, especially in view of travel restrictions involving many countries during the Covid-19 pandemic.