Pope Francis has named 17 new cardinals including an Albanian priest who spent decades in communist labour camps.

The list also includes three Americans: Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago; Bishop Kevin Farrell, prefect of the new Vatican office for laity, family and life; and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis.

Announcing the names, Pope Francis said: “Their coming from 11 nations expresses the universality of the church that proclaims and witnesses the good news of God’s mercy in every corner of the earth.”

The new cardinals will be inducted into the College of Cardinals on November 19, the eve of the close of the Year of Mercy.

The next day they will join Pope Francis and other cardinals in celebrating the feast of Christ the King and closing the Year of Mercy, the Pope said.

Among the new cardinals are Archbishop Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria, and Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic. The last of the cardinals the Pope named was Albanian Fr Ernest Simoni, of the Archdiocese of Shkodër-Pult, who will turn 88 next week. He had moved Pope Francis to tears in 2014 when he spoke about his 30 years in prison or enduring forced labour.

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