Archbishop of Kigali Diocese Msgr. Antoine Kambanda has credited God for his appointment as Rwanda’s first-ever Cardinal. The 61-year-old is one of the 13 clerics that Pope Francis elevated to the rank in a statement issued on October 25. Their installation is due November 28. He expressed appreciation for the milestone for him personally, the Catholic Church in Rwanda and the country. “I’m thankful to God for His generous blessings,” he said in an exclusive interview with The New Times, on Sunday, October 25. The rank of cardinal is just next to the Pope in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. “I am so honoured and privileged to be entrusted by His Holiness to serve the Church in such capacity. It is an honour for my country as we have not had a cardinal before,” Kambanda added. He said he will use his new position to continue serving God and His people. “I believe that God will continue to guide me in my service,” he said. Kambanda is the only African in the new list of cardinals. Also appointed are, Wilton Gregory, who becomes the first black American cardinal; Raniero Cantalamessa (Italy); Mario Grech (Malta); Marcello Semeraro (Italy); and Jose Fuerte Advincula (Philippines). Others include, Celestino Aos Braco (Chile); Cornelius Sim (Brunei); Paolo Lojudice (Italy); and Mauro Gambetti (Italy); Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel (Mexico); Silvano Tomasi (Italy); and Enrico Feroci (Italy). Cardinals wear the red colour which indicates their willingness to sacrifice themselves to the point of shedding their own blood, in the service of the Successor of Peter, and even if they resided in the remotest regions of the world, they become the titular of a parish in the Eternal City so that they are incardinated in the Church of which the Pope is Bishop. The cardinals are considered the closest advisers to the Pope. Cardinals that are below 80 years of age have the right to participate in a conclave (the secret meeting where Popes are elected).