Pope Francis named 13 new Roman Catholic cardinals on Sunday, including nine under the age of 80 who are eligible to enter a conclave to elect his successor after his death or resignation.
They will be elevated to the high rank at a ceremony known as a consistory at the Vatican next month.
The nine electors come from around the world and increase the possibility that the next pope will be a person who will continue Francis' policies. Those aged under 80 include Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC.
The four non-electors who are over 80 are being elevated to the high rank because of their long service to the Church.
The pope made the surprise announcement while addressing pilgrims from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square.