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Pope Francis to Appoint 16 Cardinals in 12 Countries Next Month

Pope Francis
Pope Francis, right, gives a chalice to Rio de Janeiro's Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta during the last mass of his visit to Brazil, at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, on July 28, 2013. Photographer: Luca Zennaro/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis will appoint his first group of 19 cardinals since becoming head of the Catholic Church last year.

The appointments include 16 men eligible to vote in elections for pope and three cardinals emeriti, over the age of 80, who are being recognized for their service to the church.

The appointments represent “the deep ecclesiastical relationship between the Church of Rome and the others churches around the world,” Pope Francis told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square in Rome today, according to a statement from Vatican Radio.

The cardinals come from countries including Brazil, Chile, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Italy and Argentina. The ceremony for the appointments will be Feb. 22 at the Vatican.

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