Pope Francis is to appoint 19 new cardinals next month, including churchmen from Haiti and Burkina Faso, reflecting his commitment to the poor.
Cardinals, who wear red hats and robes, are the most senior clergymen in the Roman Catholic Church below the Pope.
Sixteen of the new appointees are under 80, making them eligible to enter a conclave to elect the Pope’s successor.
The new cardinals will be formally instated at a ceremony, known as a consistory, on 22 February.
The three clergymen over 80 come from Spain, Italy and the Caribbean island of St Lucia. They will assume the title cardinal emeritus.
Pope Francis named his new cardinals during his weekly, Sunday address to worshipers gathered in St Peter’s Square.
They come from all corners of the world, including Italy, Germany, Britain, Nicaragua, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, Chile and the Philippines.
As expected, a few of those named are very well-known, established figures at the Vatican, says the BBC’s Alan Johnston in Rome.
But among those chosen are also men from countries like Haiti, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.
The Vatican spokesman said that this was in keeping with the Pope’s drive to put the world’s poor at the core of the Church’s mission.
The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols has been named as one of the new cardinals, and said he was deeply moved by what he called the honour conferred by the Pope on the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
“Personally this is a humbling moment,” he said.