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Quebec Archbishop inducted as cardinal at Vatican ceremony

Newly-elected Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, is hugged by Pope Francis after receiving the red three-cornered biretta hat during a consistory inside the St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Feb.22, 2014. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Alessandra Tarantino

Quebec Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix was formally inducted as a cardinal on Saturday at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Lacroix was one of 19 men selected by Pope Francis to take on the senior ecclesiastical post. Retired Pope Benedict XVI was also on hand for the ceremony.

Lacroix said he is honoured by the appointment.

“It’s a sunny day, and there is sun in my heart for the people who are with me here today,” Lacroix said after the ceremony.

Becoming a cardinal means the 56-year-old will have a hand in electing the next pope, which is a cardinal’s most important task.

The native of Saint-Hilaire de Dorset, a small town 300 kilometres east of Montreal, was named Quebec’s archbishop in 2011.

He worked for more than a decade in Colombia after being ordained as a priest in 1988.

There are now four cardinals from Canada, with Lacroix joining Marc Ouellet, Thomas Collins and Jean-Claude Turcotte.

In an interview, Turcotte noted it’s rare to be appointed cardinal before age 65. But he said Lacroix is a special person.

“This is a man that I like a lot and that has a nice warmth,” Turcotte said.

“He’s surely very moved by the confidence shown in him by the pope.”

Many of the new cardinals chosen by Pope Francis hail from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and include representatives from developing nations like Haiti and Burkina Faso.

The selections are in line with his belief that the church must pay more attention to the poor.