Cardinals, who wear red hats and robes, are the most senior clergymen in the Roman Catholic Church below the Pope.
Sixteen of the new appointees are under 80, making them eligible to enter a conclave to elect the Pope’s successor.
The new cardinals will be formally instated at a ceremony, known as a consistory, on 22 February.
Some of the new cardinals are very well-known figures, who would have been almost automatic choices – not least the Vatican’s newly appointed secretary of state, Archbishop Pietro Parolin.
But others from more remote corners of the Catholic world are much less familiar. The Vatican’s brief biographies give just the barest outline of their careers.
But we know the type of men that Pope Francis is likely to have gone looking for.
They would have been clerics who have demonstrated a readiness to immerse themselves in the lives and problems of the believers around them.
Pope Francis admires priests who, in his words, “smell of their flock”.
And his new appointees from places like Haiti and Burkina Faso will surely know all about the hardship and poverty endured by many Catholics in Africa and the Americas.
The three clergymen over 80 come from Spain, Italy and the Caribbean island of St Lucia. They will assume the title cardinal emeritus.