New cardinal Kelvin Felix. Photo credit Peter Marcdiamid, Getty Images

New cardinal Kelvin Felix.
Photo credit Peter Marcdiamid, Getty Images

Retired Archbishop of Castries, Dominica-born Kelvin Felix, was among 19 new cardinals who were inducted into the elite Roman Catholic group during a ceremony at the Vatican on Saturday.

Cardinals are senior Catholic clergymen below the pope.

He is the first from the English speaking Caribbean to be named a Cardinal.

Felix received the traditional red hat and robes at a ceremony, known as a consistory, the first for Pope Francis.

The reason for red is to symbolize the wearers’ willingness to give their lives for the Catholic faith.

The ceremony, held at St. Peter’s Basilica, was conducted in Latin and followed ancient tradition.

The Pope urged the new cardinals to serve the Church fearlessly.

“The Church needs your courage, to proclaim the Gospel at all times, both in season and out of season, and to bear witness to the truth,” he said.

Reflecting on the scripture read during the ceremony, Francis said, “Jesus is often walking and he teaches his disciples along the way. This is important. Jesus did not come to teach a philosophy, an ideology… but rather ‘a way,’ a journey to be undertaken with him.”

“But this is not easy, or comfortable, because the way that Jesus chooses is the way of the Cross,” the pope pointed out.

He warned the new cardinals about giving in to the “worldly mentality” of fear, which he said results in “rivalry, jealousy, factions.”

“Brothers, let us allow Jesus to call us to himself!” the pontiff urged.Archbishop

There are now 218 total living cardinals of which 122 are under 80 years of age and thus eligible to vote in a conclave for a pope.

Since Archbishop Felix is above 80 he is not eligible to vote.

Below is a letter from the pope informing Felix of his appointment to the college of cardinals.

Dear Brother,

On this the day on which your designation to take part in the College of Cardinals is made public, I would like to send you my warm greeting as well as the assurance of my closeness and of my prayer. I hope that, as a member of the Church of Rome, “clothed in the virtue and sentiments of the Lord Jesus (cf. Rom 13:14), you may help me with fraternal efficacy in my service to the Universal Church.

The Cardinalate does not signify a promotion, an honour nor a decoration: it is simply a service that demands a broader vision and a bigger heart. And, although it seems a paradox, this ability to look further and love more universally with greater intensity can be acquired only by following the way of the Lord: the way of lowliness and of humility, taking the form of a servant (cf. Phil 2:5-8). Therefore, I ask you, please, to receive this appointment with a simple and humble heart. And, while you ought to do this with gladness and joy, do so in a way that this sentiment is far from any kind of expression of worldliness, from any celebration alien to the evangelical spirit of austerity, moderation and poverty.

We will see each other, then, on 20 February, when we will begin two days of reflection on the family. I am at your service and, please I ask you to pray, and ask for your prayers for me.

May Jesus bless you and may the Holy Virgin protect you.

Fraternally,

From the Vatican, 12 January 2014

Francis