By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Sunday announced the names of 13 new cardinals from around the world, saying they represent the missionary vocation of the Church. Among them are 2 archbishops and a bishop who are retired, whom the Pope nominated for their distinguished service to the Church.
They will be made cardinals at a consistory in the Vatican on 5 October.
The future cardinals were all taken by surprise by the Pope’s unscheduled announcement during his midday Angelus prayer with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.
One among them is Spanish Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, who was in his native city, Seville, when the announcement was made.
Speaking to Father Felipe Herrera of Vatican News on the phone, the 67-year old Combonian Missionary of the Heart of Jesus expressed his “deep gratitude” to the Holy Father for nominating him a cardinal. He said he was surprised and obviously moved because it was unexpected.
Life dedication to inter-religious dialogue
Heading the Pontifical Council as a cardinal, he said, “I will have a deeper opportunity to be generous in giving my life for serving the Church, in promoting inter-religious dialogue.” It is a dialogue which Pope Francis continues to unceasingly to say, is needed for the future of humanity.
“The future of humanity,” the Combonian Missionary bishop explained, “passes through inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.” Hence, all efforts will be in continuity with all the patrimony that the Church has received from previous pontiffs since the Second Vatican Council. It will be a dedication in promoting inter-religious dialogue in the spirit of Pope Francis, which promotes friendship and respect for every human person.