Pope Francis created 20 new cardinals for the Catholic Church during a liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica Saturday.

“Jesus calls us by name; he looks us in the eye and he asks: Can I count on you?” Pope Francis said in a homily addressed to the College of Cardinals and its new members on Aug. 27.

“The Lord,” he said, “wants to bestow on us his own apostolic courage, his zeal for the salvation of every human being, without exception. He wants to share with us his magnanimity, his boundless and unconditional love, for his heart is afire with the mercy of the Father.”

The pope’s reflection followed a reading from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 49-50: “In that time, Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!’”

“The words of Jesus, in the very middle of the Gospel of Luke, pierce us like an arrow,” Francis said.

“The Lord calls us once more to follow him along the path of his mission,” he said. “A fiery mission – like that of Elijah – not only for what he came to accomplish but also for how he accomplished it. And to us who in the Church have been chosen from among the people for a ministry of particular service, it is as if Jesus is handing us a lighted torch and telling us: ‘Take this; as the Father has sent me so I now send you.’”

The pope ended his homily mentioning that one cardinal-elect, Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Wa (Ghana), was not present. Francis asked for prayers for the African prelate, explaining Baawobr had been taken ill. 

At the beginning of the consistory, Pope Francis pronounced the opening prayer of the ceremony in Latin.

During the ceremony, the new cardinals made a profession of faith by reciting the Creed. They then pronounced an oath of fidelity and obedience to the pope and his successors.

Each cardinal then approached Pope Francis, kneeling before him to receive the red birretta, the cardinal’s ring, and a document naming the titular church he has been assigned.

Pope Francis embraced each new cardinal, saying to him: “Pax Domini sit semper tecum,” which is Latin for “the peace of the Lord be with you always.” Each cardinal responded: “Amen.”

The new cardinals also exchanged a sign of peace with a number of the members of the College of Cardinals, representative of the whole college.

While placing the red biretta on the head of each cardinal, the pope recited these words: “To the glory of almighty God and the honor of the Apostolic See, receive the scarlet biretta as a sign of the dignity of the cardinalate, signifying your readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquility of the people of God and for the freedom and growth of the Holy Roman Church.”

As he gave each new cardinal the ring, Francis said: “Receive this ring from the hand of Peter and know that, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, your love for the Church is strengthened.”

In his homily, the pope said: “The Lord wants to bestow on us his own apostolic courage, his zeal for the salvation of every human being, without exception. He wants to share with us his magnanimity, his boundless and unconditional love, for his heart is afire with the mercy of the Father.”

He also recalled another kind of fire, that of charcoal. “This fire,” he said, “burns in a particular way in the prayer of adoration, when we silently stand before the Eucharist and bask in the humble, discreet and hidden presence of the Lord. Like that charcoal fire, his presence becomes warmth and nourishment for our daily life.”

“A Cardinal loves the Church, always with that same spiritual fire, whether dealing with great questions or handling everyday problems, with the powerful of this world or those ordinary people who are great in God’s eyes,” he said.