Dominican-born retired archbishop of the archdiocese of Castries, Kelvin Felix, has been named a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
The announcement was made by Pope Francis at the Vatican on Sunday.
In making the announcement, the pope said the new Cardinals “represent the deep ecclesiastical relationship between the Church of Rome and the other Churches throughout the world.”
Felix is among 19 Catholic prelates from around the world who were elevated to the office by the pope.
A Vatican spokesman said on Sunday that the pope’s decision to select men from some of the world’s poorest nations reflect’s Francis’ attention to the destitute as a central mission of the Church.
Usually called “princes of the Church,” Cardinals are senior officials who make up the College of Cardinals, whose primary responsibility is to elect a new pope at the appropriate time.
However, they just don’t hang around until the pope dies or abdicates office. They are normally given many high ranking responsibilities in the Vatican ranging from heading commissions and congregations to leading archdioceses around the globe, among others.
Since he is over 80, Felix will be among three of the named Cardinals who will not be eligible to vote for a new pope.
Kelvin Felix was born in Dominica on February 15, 1933.
He was ordained a priest on April 8, 1956 at the age of 23.
On July 17, 1981 he was appointed archbishop of Castries and ordained archbishop on April 5, 1981.
He retired on February 15, 2008.
Felix has a long career in the Catholic Church.
He was named Principal of the Roman Catholic High School, St. Mary’s Academy in Dominica, from 1972–1975 and Associate General Secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches from 1975–1981. He served as President of the Antilles Episcopal Conference from 1991–1997 and President of the Caribbean Conference of Churches from 1981–1986.
As archbishop, he oversaw the dioceses of Castries in St. Lucia, St. George’s in Grenada, Roseau in Dominica and St. John’s-Basseterre in Antigua and St. Kitts.
He has also served on various Vatican committees, including the Pontifical Council for Family Life, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and the Synodal Council for America.
Archbishop Felix was attacked and grabbed on the neck by a man with a knife, immediately after he finished an evening sermon at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries in April 2006. He was not seriously injured.
Since his retirement as archbishop, Felix moved back to Dominica where he has been helping out in various parishes.
The ceremony to officially install him as a Cardinal will be held at the Vatican on February 22.