The following are brief biographies of the seventeen new cardinals to be created by Pope Francis in the consistory to be held on 19 November.
Msgr. Mario Zenari, Italy, titular archbishop of Zuglio, apostolic nuncio in Syria, was born in Villafranca, Verona in 1946 and was ordained a priest in 1970, incardinated in the diocese of Verona. He holds a degree in canon law.
He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1980, and subsequently served in the Papal Representations in Senegal, Liberia, Colombia, Germany and Romania. On 25 March 1993 he was appointed nunciature counsellor.
In 1994 he was appointed as Holy See Permanent Observer at the International Atomic Energy Agency and at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations Organisation for Industrial Development and at the United Nations Office in Vienna.
In 1999 the Holy Father, St. John Paul II, appointed him apostolic nuncio in Cote d’Ivoire and in Niger, at the same time elevating him to the titular see of Zuglio with dignity of archbishop. A few days later he was appointed as nuncio also in Burkina Faso. He received episcopal consecration on 25 September of the same year.
In 2004 he was appointed as apostolic nuncio in Sri Lanka, and in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as apostolic nuncio in Syria.
Msgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, C.S.Sp., archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic, was born in 1967 in Mbomou, in the diocese of Bangassou, Central African Republic. After primary school, he entered the minor seminary of Saint Louis of Bangassou and then the Saints Apôtres major seminary of Philosophy of Otélé, Cameroon, before continuing his studies at the Daniel Brottier Spiritan major seminary, in Libreville Gabon.
He gave his first vows in the Congregation of the Spiritan Fathers in 1993 and his perpetual vows in 1997. He was ordained a priest in 1998. In the following years he obtained a licentiate in theology at the Centre Sèvres of the Jesuit Fathers in France, but was then recalled to the Central African Republic by his Institute to carry out the functions of Regional Superior.
While in France, from 1998 to 2005, he was Chaplain of the orphans of the Fondation d'Auteuil and assistant priest at St. Jerôme, Marseille; he returned to Central Africa as Regional Superior of the Spiritan Fathers and parish priest in Bangui from 2005-2009. From 2008 to 2009 he was president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Central Africa.
Since 2009 he has been apostolic administrator of Bangui, and in 2012 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as metropolitan archbishop of Bangui. He received episcopal consecration on July 22 of the same year.
Since July 2013 he has served as president of the Episcopal Conference of the Central African Republic, and in that capacity he participated in the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family in October 2014.
In November of 2015 he welcomed Pope Francis in his diocese; in Bangui the Holy Father opened the first door of the Holy Year of Mercy.
Personally committed to the peace process in his country, in 2013 he participated, alongside the president of the Islamic Council and the president of the Evangelical Alliance in Bangui, in the foundation of the interfaith Platform for Peace in Central Africa.
He is Central Africa’s first cardinal
Msgr. Carlos Osoro Sierra, archbishop of Madrid, Spain, was born in Castañeda, province and diocese of Santander, in 1945. After studying the Magisterium at the Escuela Normal and a year of teaching in Santander, he entered the seminary for late vocations, the Colegio Mayor El Salvador in Salamanca, where he attended courses in philosophy and theology at the Pontifical University of that city, obtaining a licentiate in the two disciplines. He also obtained, again at the Complutense University, a Diploma in Enseñanza de Adultos.
He was ordained a priest in 1973 in Santander, remaining incardinated in that diocese.
After priestly ordination he was a member of the team of priests in the Assumption Parish in Torrelavega for youth ministry, director of the Casa de los muchachos and Professor of the Escuela Universitaria de Formación del Profesorado ‘Sagrados Corazones’ (1973-1975); general secretary for the pastoral care of the diocese, episcopal delegate for vocations and seminaries and for the apostolate of the laity, and vicar for pastoral ministry (1975-1996); vicar general of the diocese (1976-1994); rector of the diocesan seminary (1977-1996); president of the Cathedral Chapter (1994-1996), director of the Centro Asociado del Instituto Internacional de Teología a Distancia and director of the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Religiosas San Agustín (1996).
In 1996, St. John Paul II appointed him as bishop of Orense. He received episcopal ordination the following February.
In 2002, he was promoted to the metropolitan see of Oviedo. From September 2006 to September 2007 he was also apostolic administrator of the diocese of Santander. In 2009 he was transferred by Pope Benedict XVI to the metropolitan see of Valencia. In 2014 Pope Francis appointed him as metropolitan archbishop of Madrid.
Since March 2014 he has served as vice-president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, within which he was previously president of the Commission for the Clergy (1999-2005) and president of the Episcopal Commission for the Apostolate and member of the Executive Committee (2005-2011).
He took part in the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world in October 2015).
Msgr. Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil was born in Dobrada, diocese of Jaboticabal in the State of São Paulo in 1959. He attended courses in philosophy at the diocesan seminary of São Carlos and theology at the Theological Institute of Campinas. He obtained a licentiate in moral theology at the Nossa Senhora da Assunção Theological Faculty in São Paulo, and a doctorate in the same discipline at the St. Alphonsus Academy in Rome.
He was ordained a priest 1984 in Matão, diocese of São Carlos.
As a priest he exercised the following ministries: parish priest in Água Vermelha and coordinator of youth pastoral ministry in São Carlos (1985-1986); professor of philosophy at the diocesan seminary and spiritual director of the House of Theology in Campinas (1986-1987 and 1991); rector of São Carlos Philosophy Seminar (1987-1988 and 1990); diocesan coordinator of vocations (1987 and 1989); parish vicar of the Cathedral of São Carlos (1988-1989); vicar of the parish of Nossa Senhora de Fátima in São Carlos (1990); diocesan coordinator of pastoral ministry, and rector of the São Judas Tadeu Chapel in São Carlos (1991); professor of moral theology at the PUC of Campinas and rector of the diocesan theological seminary (1997-2001); member of the team for the formation of permanent deacons; and member of the council of presbyters and the college of consultors.
In 2001 he was elected titular bishop of Alba and appointed auxiliary of Fortaleza. He received his episcopal consecration on 11 August. He was appointed coadjutor bishop in 2007 and became archbishop the following year.
In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him metropolitan archbishop of Brasilia.
Since April 2015 he has been president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, in which he had previously held numerous positions, including member of the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine; member of the Episcopal Commission of the Mutirão de Superação da Miséria e da Fome; regional secretary and director of youth and vocational ministry for the region Nordeste 1; member of the permanent council and the Commission of the Doctrine; and chairman of the region Nordeste 1.
He was also president of the Department of Vocations and Ministries of CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Council.
He took part in the Synod of Bishops in October 2015 on the family.
Msgr. Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, United States of America, was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1949. After attending the customary primary and secondary schools, he attended the “College of St. Thomas” in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1971. From 1971 to 1975 he was a student at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Later he obtained a licentiate (1979) and doctorate (1987) in sacramental theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
He was ordained a priest in 1975 for the archdiocese of Omaha.
After priestly ordination he held the following positions: vice-pastor of the “St. Margaret Mary Parish” and teacher at the “Paul VI High School” in Omaha (1975-1978); director of the archdiocesan liturgical office (1978-1981); local co-worker at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C. (1981-1987); pastor of the “St. Mary Parish” in Bellevue (1987-1989); president / rector of the “Pontifical College Josephinum” in Columbus, Ohio (1989-1997); pastor of the “St. Robert Bellarmine Parish” in Omaha (1997-1998).
Appointed bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota in 1998, he received episcopal ordination in September of the same year.
In 2010 he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as bishop of Spokane, Washington, and took canonical possession of the diocese the following September.
In 2014 Pope Francis appointed him as metropolitan archbishop of Chicago. In October 2015 he participated, by papal appointment, at the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family.
He was chairman of the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People (2008-2011) and the National Catholic Educational Association Board (from 2006-2008), and is member of numerous committees of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States.
He is a member of the Congregation for Bishops.
Msgr. Patrick D'Rozario, C.S.C., archbishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh, was born in 1943 in Padrishibpur, in the diocese of Chittagong. He belongs to the Congregation of the Holy Cross and was ordained a priest in 1972.
Elected as first bishop of Rajshahi in 1990, he proceeded to organise the new diocese. In 1995 he was transferred to the see of Chittagong, the second largest in the country. In 2010 he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as coadjutor bishop of Dhaka, succeeding to the metropolitan see in 2011.
Since December 2011 he has served as president of the Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh, and in that capacity he participated in the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family in October 2014.
He is Bangladesh’s first cardinal.
Msgr. Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, archbishop of Mérida, Venezuela, was born in 1944 in Caracas. After his studies in philosophy in the interdiocesan seminary of Caracas, he attended the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain, where he obtained a licentiate in theology in 1966 and in 1977 received a doctorate in pastoral theology from the Higher Institute of Pastoral Care of the same University.
He was ordained a priest in 1967, and subsequently served as cooperating vicar, minister, assistant diocesan cursillo, professor at the seminary and other public and private institutions; director of the Colegio Nuestra Señora Del Rosario and professor of the IUT de los Llanos. In Caracas he was vice-rector of the interdiocesan seminary and director of studies (1978-1979); he also held the post of rector of the San José del Hatillo seminary from 1979-1983.
He was elected titular bishop of Lamdia and auxiliary of Mérida in 1983 and received episcopal consecration in the same year.
In 1991 St. John Paul II appointed him archbishop of Mérida, and he took possession of the diocese on 5 December. From March 1998 to June 1999 he was also apostolic administrator of the vacant see of San Cristóbal.
He has held numerous positions in the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, of which he was president for two consecutive terms from 1999 to 2006, after long service as vice-president.
The first vice-president of CELAM from 2007 to 2011, he is still a member of the Special Council for America of the Synod of Bishops (since 1997).
Msgr. Jozef De Kesel, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, was in 1947 in Ghent, East Flanders, in the eponymous diocese. He was ordained a priest in 1972 for the diocese of Ghent.
He obtained his doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and is the author of numerous articles and a book on the Church and various aspects of Christian life. He has served as a lecturer at the seminary of Gent, in a training centre for future teachers of religion and the University of Leuven. He speaks French, Dutch, English and Italian.
Elected to the titular see of Bulna and appointed auxiliary bishop of Mechelen-Brussels in 2002, he was consecrated on 26 May. From 2002 to 2010 he served as vicar general for the Vicariate of Brussels. Since 2010 he has held the role of vicar general of the Vicariate of Flemish Brabant and the Mechelen area.
In 2010 he was appointed bishop of Bruges. In 2015 Pope Francis appointed him as metropolitan archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, and Military Ordinary for Belgium. Since January 2016 he has served as president of the Episcopal Conference of Belgium.
Msgr. Maurice Piat, C.S.Sp., archbishop of Port-Louis, Mauritius was born in Moka, in the diocese of Port Louis in 1941. After his secondary studies at the Collège du Saint-Esprit, Quatre-Bornes, Ile Maurice, he entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit in Ireland, where he made his religious profession on 8 September 1962. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from University College, Dublin, he was admitted to the Pontifical French Seminary in Rome and continued his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, concluding with a licentiate in theology in 1972.
He was ordained a priest in 1970. In 1972, Following his theological studies, he spent three months in the ministry in Bangalore in India. Upon returning to his homeland, he was appointed professor and catechist at the Collège du Saint-Esprit, Quatre-Bornes. Until 1982 he was also responsible for the aspiring seminarians at the Foyer Monseigneur-Murphy, Vacoas. From 1977 to 1979 he attended a course in Paris at the Institute for the Formation of Educators in the Clergy. He returned to Mauritius as vicar in the parish of Saint-François-d'Assise in Pamplemousses (1979-1985), then pastor of the parish Immaculé-Coeur-de-Marie Riviere-du-Rempart (1986).
From 1981 he was also in charge of diocesan pastoral planning for basic ecclesial communities, and episcopal vicar for the formation and coordination of diocesan pastoral ministry. In those years he contributed to the creation of a training centre in Tabor, Beau-Bassin.
In 1991 he was appointed coadjutor of the then-bishop of Port Louis, Cardinal Jean Margéot, and received episcopal consecration in the same year. In 1993, he became bishop of Port Louis.
He was president of the Episcopal Conference of the Indian Ocean (C.E.D.O.I.) from 1996 to 2002 and again from 2013 to September this year (2016). Since 2000 he has been a member of the Standing Committee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (S.C.E.A.M.).
In October 2015 he participated in the Synod of Bishops on the Family.
Msgr. Kevin Joseph Farrell, United States of America, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, was born in 1947 in Dublin, Ireland. After completing primary and secondary school, he attended the University of Salamanca in Spain, and then the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He holds a licentiate in philosophy and theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome. He later completed a Master's degree in Business Administration at the University of Notre Dame, United States of America. He entered the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1978.
After ordination he served as chaplain at the University of Monterrey in Mexico, professor of economic studies, and general director with responsibility for seminars and schools of the Legionaries of Christ in Italy, Spain and Ireland. Since 1983, he exercised his pastoral ministry in the parish of St. Bartholomew in Bethesda in Washington.
In 1984 he was incardinated in the archdiocese of Washington, where he held the following positions: assistant pastor in the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle (1984-1985); director of the Spanish Catholic Centre (1986); acting executive director of the Catholic Charitable Organisations (1987-1988); secretary for financial affairs (1989-2001); and pastor of the Annunciation parish (2000-2002).
Hew as appointed titular bishop of Rusuccuru and auxiliary of Washington in 2001, and received episcopal consecration the following year. Since 2001 he has held the office of vicar general for administration and moderator of the Curia. In 2007 he was appointed as bishop of Dallas.
In August 2016 Pope Francis called him to serve in the Roman Curia, as prefect of the new Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life.
Msgr. Carlos Aguiar Retes, archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico was born in 1950 in Tepic. He studied at the seminary of Tepic, continuing at the seminary of Montezuma in the United States of America, and Tula. Subsequently he obtained a licentiate in sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and a doctorate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
He was ordained a priest in 1973. He subsequently served as parish vicar, rector of the seminary of Tepic and at the same time chairman of the Organisation of Mexican Seminaries (OSMEX) and member of the Executive Council of Latin American Seminaries. He was then rector of the John XXIII residence for priests at the Pontifical University of Mexico, and professor of sacred Scripture in the same university.
In 1997 he was appointed bishop of Texcoco and received episcopal ordination the same year. In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as metropolitan archbishop of Tlalnepantla. From 2006 to 2012 he was president of the Episcopal Conference of Mexico, having served as secretary general from 2004 to 2006.
He has held several positions in the CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council): secretary general from 2000 to 2003; first vice-president from 2003 to 2007, and then president from 2011 to 2015.
In October 2014 and then also in October 2015 Pope Francis called on him to participate in the two respective assemblies of the Synod of Bishops on the family.
Msgr. John Ribat, M.S.C., archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea was born in 1957 in Volavolo, archdiocese of Rabaul. After attending elementary school in Naveo and Volavolo, he attended the Malabunga Government High School in Rabaul. He completed high school at the St. Peter Chanel High School of Ulapia and entered the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, where he made his first profession on February 2, 1979. He studied philosophy and theology at the Holy Spirit Seminary of Bomana, and was ordained a priest in 1985.
From ordination until 1991 he exercised his pastoral ministry in various parishes of the diocese of Bereina; he then followed a training course at SAIDI centre in Manila, and was Master of Novices from 1992 to 1996. In 1997 he served as parish priest and from 1998 to 2000 was Master of Novices in Suva, Fiji Islands.
In 2000 he was elected to the titular see of Macriana minor and appointed auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Bereina, Papua New Guinea. He received episcopal ordination in 2001.
In 2002, he was appointed bishop of Bereina. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as coadjutor archbishop of Port Moresby and in 2008 he became archbishop of the metropolitan see.
He served as president of the Episcopal Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands from 2011 to 2014. Since 2014 he has held the role of Chairman of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO).
He is Papua New Guinea’s first cardinal.
Msgr. Joseph William Tobin, C.SS.R., archbishop of Indianapolis, United States of America, was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1952. He entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, gave his first vows in 1972 and his solemn vows in 1976. In 1975 he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Holy Redeemer College in Waterford, Wisconsin; in 1977 he obtained a Master’s degree in Religious Education and in 1979 a Master of Divinity (pastoral theology) from Mount St. Alphonsus Major Seminary in Esopus, New York.
He was ordained a priest in 1978, and served as assistant priest (1979-1984) and then pastor (1984-1990) of the Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit; episcopal vicar of the archdiocese of Detroit (1980-1986); and pastor of the St. Alphonsus Parish in Chicago (1990-1991).
In 1991 he was elected general Consulter of the Redemptorist Fathers and in 1997, superior general. He was confirmed in the post in 2003. In the same year he became vice president of the Union of Superiors General.
In addition, he has served as a member of the Council for Relations between the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the International Unions of Superiors and of Superiors General (2001-2009).
He was appointed as secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life Life in 2010 and at the same time raised to the titular see of Obba with the dignity of archbishop, receiving episcopal consecration on 9 October.
In 2012 the Holy Father Benedict XVI appointed him as archbishop of Indianapolis.
Msgr. Anthony Soter Fernandez, archbishop emeritus of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was born in 1932 in Sungai Patani, in the diocese of Penang, to a family of Indian origin. He was ordained a priest in 1966. In 1977 he was appointed as bishop of Penang and received episcopal consecration in 1978.
In 1993 he was appointed as archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, which he led until 2003. Since then, he resides in the major seminary of Penand, where he has devoted himself to the formation of priests as spiritual director.
He served as president of the Episcopal Conference of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei for two terms, from 1987 to 1990 and again from 2000 to 2003.
He is Malaysia’s first cardinal.
Msgr. Renato Corti, bishop emeritus of Novara, Italy, was born in Galbiate in the province of Como and the diocese of Milan in 1936. After primary school he continued his formation in the seminaries of Milan. He was ordained a priest in 1959 by Msgr. Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, and was parish co-operator at the oratory of Caronno Pertusella from 1959 to 1967.
He then served in the Archbishop's College of Gorla as spiritual director. In 1969 he moved to Saronno with the same mandate, then served as rector for theological studies from 1977 to November 1980, when he was selected by Archbishop Martini as vicar general.
Elected to the titular see of Zallata and appointed auxiliary bishop of Milan in 1981, he was ordained in the same year. Alongside his diocesan duties he served as president of the Commission for the clergy of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
He was appointed as bishop of Novara in 1990, taking up his post on 1991. He was pastor of the diocese of Novara until 24 November 2011, when the Pope accepted his resignation upon reaching the age limit.
For a decade until 2005 he served as vice president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
In February 2005 he preached the spiritual exercises to the Vatican Curia, in the last of which St. John Paul II participated. In 2015 Pope Francis entrusted to him the task of writing the meditations for the traditional Way of the Cross on Good Friday at the Colosseum in Rome.
Msgr. Sebastian Koto Khoarai, O.M.I., bishop emeritus of Mohale's Hoek, Lesotho, was born in Koaling in the diocese of Leribe in 1929. He entered the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and was ordained a priest in 1956.
He was raised to the episcopate in 1977 as ordinary of Mohale's Hoek, receiving consecration in 1978.
In May 2006, he submitted his resignation upon reaching the age limit, but remained as apostolic administrator of the diocese until February 2014.
From 1982 to 1987 he served as president of the Episcopal Conference of Lesotho.
He is Lesotho’s first cardinal.
Rev. Ernest Simoni, presbyter of the archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult, Shkodra, Albania, was born in 1928 in Troshani, a village a few kilometres from Shkodra, to a deeply religious family. At the age of ten he entered the Franciscan College in Troshani, beginning the process of formation for the priesthood. In 1948, at the height of persecution by the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, the Franciscan convent was looted and turned into a place of torture for prisoners. The friars were all shot, and the novices expelled. He was twenty years old, and was sent by the regime to teach in a remote village in the mountains. Here his work as a teacher became principally a missionary and evangelising task. After two years of hard military service (1953-55), he concluded his clandestine studies in theology and in 1956 was ordained a priest in Shkodra. In obedience to the bishop, he was incardinated in the diocese although he remained profoundly Franciscan at heart. In 1963, after the Christmas Mass, he was arrested and jailed in Skhodra, where he was held in solitary confinement. Sentenced to death, the sentence was commuted to 25 years of hard labour. In prison he became the spiritual father and point of reference for prisoners. In 1973 he was again sentenced to death as the alleged instigator of a revolt, but on account of favourable testimony from his jailers the sentence was not carried out. His prison stay lasted around 18 years, twelve of which in he spent in the mines. After liberation in 1981, he was still considered an “enemy of the people” and forced to work in the Shkodra sewers. He exercised the ministry of the priesthood clandestinely, until the fall of the regime in 1990. Since then he has continued to serve as a humble priest, in many villages, seeking to reconcile feuds and to bring his testimony, which deeply moved even Pope Francis on a visit to Tirana in 2014.