On January 21, 2017 thousands of Roman Catholic Church followers joined Lesotho King Letsie III to celebrate the ordinance of the country's first and only Cardinal, His Eminence Sebastian Koto Khoarai. Archbishop of Durban Cardinal Wilfrid Napier led the celebration held in Mohale's Hoek.
There are more than 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world and only 226 cardinals, 24 of them in Africa. Cardinals are chosen by the pope (Pope Francis) to be members of his inner circle of counselors and advisors. During an address to the crowd, King Letsie III announced, "Our gratitude to the Holy Father for this great honor his has bestowed on this small country, on this small nation."
87 year old retired bishop Sebastian Koto Khoarai has been in the church for 60 years. He is the first Mosotho Cardinal who is also an Oblate of Mary Immaculate. He also has been given the title of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice in Acilia, which is a diocese in Rome. He will be called Cardinal Priest of St. Leonard of Port Maurice in Acilia.
Sr. Adelina Lesaoana of the Holy Family Sisters in Lesotho commented that this event was special to us in Lesotho, but more specially for us in the Catholic church. She adds, "Please rejoice with us. Its a great joy for us."
We ask God to bless and protect him.
List of new cardinals named by Pope Francis (October 2016)
- Monsignor Mario Zenari, Vatican ambassador to Syria.
- Monsignor Dieudonné Nzapalainga, archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic.
- Monsignor Carlos Osoro Sierra, archbishop of Madrid.
- Monsignor Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil.
- Monsignor Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago.
- Monsignor Patrick D'Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Monsignor Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, archbishop of Merida, Venezuela.
- Monsignor Jozef De Kesel, archbishop of Malines-Brussels, Belgium.
- Monsignor Maurice Piat, archbishop of Port Louis, Mauritius.
- Monsignor Kevin Joseph Farrell, outgoing archbishop of Dallas and new prefect of the Vatican dicastry for laity, family and life.
- Monsignor Carlos Aguiar Retes, archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico.
- Monsignor John Ribat, archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
- Monsignor Joseph William Tobin, archbishop of Indianapolis.
Cardinals named Sunday by Pope Francis who are over age 80 and thus ineligible to vote in a conclave:
- Monsignor Anthony Soter Fernandez, emeritus archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- Monsignor Renato Corti, emeritus archbishop of Novara, Italy.
- Monsignor Sebastian Koto Khoarai, emeritus bishop of Mohale's Hoek, Lesotho.
- Rev. Ernest Simoni, presbyter of the archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult, Albania.