The Pope announced the 13 cardinals from eight nations in a surprise address from his window overlooking St Peter's Square in Rome on Sunday.
Wilton Daniel Gregory, the progressive 72-year-old Archbishop of Washington DC, will be one of them.
The cardinals will be installed in a ceremony at the Vatican on 28 November.
Cardinals are the most senior clergymen in the Roman Catholic Church below the pontiff.
Their role includes electing the pope - the head of the Church - who is chosen from among them at a secret gathering known as a conclave.