The pope has named 19 new cardinals, with observers saying his choices place emphasis on the poor.
Half of the new cardinals appointed by Pope Francis hail from non-European countries, and 16 of them are "cardinal electors" - under 80 and thus eligible to enter a conclave to elect a pope.
"The disproportionate representation of wealthy nations in the College of Cardinals is something that Francis is trying to rectify," said Candida Moss, professor of New Testament and early Christianity at Notre Dame University in the United States.
The geography of the consistory helps the churches of the
world, particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
"The movement of cardinals to the south was just as predictable as the migration of birds in the winter."
The new cardinals are from Italy, Germany, Britain, Nicaragua, Canada, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, Chile, Burkina Faso, the Philippines and Haiti.
"The winner here is the South of the world," said Andrea Tornielli, who has written some 50 books on the Catholic Church and interviewed Pope Francis last month. "The geography of the consistory helps the churches of the world, particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia."
Francis is the first Latin American pope and the first non-European pontiff in some 1,300 years.
Cardinals are the pope's closest advisers in the Vatican and around the world. Apart from being church leaders in their home countries, those who are not based in the Vatican are members of key committees in Rome that decide policies that can affect the lives of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
Archbishop Chibly Langlois is the first cardinal from Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where according to the World Bank some 80 percent of the rural population lives in poverty. The Philippines, Nicaragua, Ivory Coast and Brazil also have high rates of poverty.
The pope, who made the announcement to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square for his Sunday blessing, has often said since his election on March 13 he wants a church that "is poor and for the poor".