Pope Francis appointed 14 Roman Catholic prelates to the high rank of cardinal.
The elite group of churchmen are the Pope’s closest advisers who are also eligible to select his successor if they are under 80.
Francis Arinze, 85, Olubunmi Okogie, 81, and John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, 74 are the three Nigerians that are presently cardinals.
Recall that Dominic Ignatius Ekandem was the first Nigerian to be appointed a cardinal in 1976 before he passed away in 1995.
The Pope announced the names of the new cardinals during his weekly Sunday address with the ceremony to elevate the nominees, known as a consistory, billed for June 29.
Vatican News reports that the men who will receive their red hats from the Pope include bishops from Iraq, Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Italy and Japan.
Similarly, the list also includes Polish archbishop Konrad Krajewski and three Italian archbishops, Angelo De Donatis; the vicar general of the Rome diocese, Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Giovanni Becciu, the Substitute of the Secretary of State and Special Delegate for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
According to Pope Francis, their nominations “manifests the unbreakable bond between the See of Peter and the local Churches throughout the world”.
Others are: Louis Raphaël I Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of Rome; Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretary of State and Special Delegate for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Konrad Krajewski; Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities, Joseph Coutts – Archbishop of Karach.
In addition, the rest cardinals are: António dos Santos Marto, Bishop of Leiria-Fátima; Pedro Barreto, Archbishop of Huancayo; Desiré Tsarahazana, Archbishop of Toamasina, Giuseppe Petrocchi – Archbishop of L’Aquila; Thomas Aquinas Manyo – Archbishop of Osaka; Sergio Obeso Rivera, Emeritus Archbishop of Xalapa; Toribio Ticona Porco, Emeritus Bishop of Corocoro and Reverend Father Aquilino Bocos Merino, member of the Claretian order.