Pope announces new cardinals from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos, Salvador

IMAGE: CNS photo/Octavio Duran

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis announced he will create
five new cardinals June 28; the new cardinals-designate come from Mali, Spain,
Sweden, Laos and El Salvador.

Unusually, the group of prelates announced by the pope May
21 includes an auxiliary bishop whose archbishop is not a cardinal; he is
Cardinal-designate Gregorio Rosa Chavez, 74, the current auxiliary bishop of
San Salvador.

The other churchmen who will receive red hats are: Archbishop
Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, 73; Archbishop Juan Jose Omella of Barcelona,
Spain, 71; Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm, Sweden, 67; and Bishop Louis-Marie
Ling Mangkhanekhoun, apostolic vicar of Pakse, Laos, 73.

After briefly talking about the day’s Gospel reading,
leading the crowd in St. Peter’s Square in reciting the “Regina
Coeli” prayer and greeting various groups present, instead of wishing
everyone a good Sunday and a good lunch — the normal procedure at the noon
prayer — Pope Francis made his announcement.

The five new cardinals coming from “different parts of
the world demonstrates the catholicity of the church spread across the globe,”
Pope Francis said. And the practice of assigning to each of them a church in
Rome “expresses that the cardinals belong to the Diocese of Rome,”
which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch explained, “presides in charity over all
the churches.”

Pope Francis said that June 29, the day after the consistory
and the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the new cardinals would concelebrate a
Mass with him, the entire College of Cardinals and new archbishops from around
the world.

“We entrust the new cardinals to the protection of Sts.
Peter and Paul,” Pope Francis said, praying that with St. Peter they would
be “authentic servants” of communion in the church and that with St.
Paul they would be “joyful proclaimers of the Gospel.”

The pope also prayed that “with their witness and their
counsel,” the new cardinals would “support me more intensely in my
service as bishop of Rome, pastor of the universal church.”

With five new cardinals, the College of Cardinals will have
227 members, 121 of whom are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote
in a conclave. The number of electors exceeds by one the limit of 120 set by
Blessed Paul VI. The next cardinal to turn 80 will be Cardinal Antonio Maria
Veglio, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers,
who will celebrate his birthday Feb. 3.

The Vatican released brief biographical notes about the five
who will be inducted into the college in June:

— Cardinal-designate Zerbo was born Dec. 27, 1943, in Segou
and was ordained to the priesthood there in 1971. He earned a license in
Scripture studies from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and then
returned to Mali as a pastor and professor at the seminary in Bamako.

Ordained a bishop in 1988, he served first as auxiliary
bishop of Bamako and then was named bishop of Mopti. He has led the Archdiocese
of Bamako since 1998.

According to the Vatican, “he played an active role in
the Mali peace negotiations” and has worked for solidarity and
reconciliation among the nation’s citizens.

— Cardinal-designate Omella was born in the small town of
Cretas April 21, 1946, and did his seminary studies in Zaragoza as well as
Louvain, Belgium, and Jerusalem. He was ordained in 1970. In addition to parish
work in Spain, he spent a year as a missionary in then-Zaire, now Congo.

Ordained a bishop in 1996, he served as auxiliary bishop of
Zaragoza and later as bishop of Barbastro-Monzon, then bishop of Calahorra and
La Calzada-Logrorio. Pope Francis named him archbishop of Barcelona in 2015.

He has long been a member of the Spanish bishops’ commission
for social questions and served two terms as commission president. He is a
member of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops.

— Cardinal-designate Arborelius hosted Pope Francis’ visit
to Sweden in October as part of an ecumenical commemoration of the 500th
anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Born in Sweden Sept. 24, 1949, he joined the Catholic Church
at the age of 20. A few years later, he entered the Discalced Carmelites, took
vows in 1977 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1979.

Ordained bishop of Stockholm in 1998, he became the first
native Swedish bishop in Sweden since the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s,
according to the Vatican.

— Cardinal-designate Mangkhanekhoun was born April 8, 1944,
in Laos. The Vatican did not say in what city, but did say he was educated and
did seminary studies in Laos and Canada.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1972 by the apostolic vicar of
Vientiane, he was instrumental in training catechists and was known for his
pastoral visits to remote mountain villages.

In October 2000, he was named apostolic vicar of Pakse and
was ordained a bishop six months later. Since February, he also has served as
apostolic administrator of Vientiane, which currently is without a bishop.

— Cardinal-designate Rosa Chavez was born Sept. 3, 1942, in
Sociedad, El Salvador. He studied at San Jose de la Montana Seminary in San
Salvador, earned a degree in social communications and studied at the Catholic
University in Louvain, Belgium.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1970 in San Miguel and
served overlapping — and sometimes simultaneous — terms as the bishop’s
secretary, pastor of a parish and director of the diocesan radio station. From
1977 to 1982, he served as rector of San Jose de la Montafia Seminary in San
Salvador, a position that brought him into regular contact and close
collaboration with Blessed Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, who
was assassinated in 1980.

He was named auxiliary bishop of San Salvador in 1982.
Currently, in addition to his duties as auxiliary bishop, he serves as pastor
of the Church of St. Francis in the capital, president of Caritas El Salvador and
president of Caritas in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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