SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy was one of 21 new cardinals named by Pope Francis Sunday, the only one chosen from the United States.

McElroy, 68, was born in San Francisco and attended Harvard College, where he earned a degree in American history, and Stanford University, where he earned a master’s degree in the same subject.

He’s been San Diego’s bishop since 2015, and is also president of California Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in California.

“When I was growing up, my family would come to San Diego for our summer vacation, and I was captivated by the beauty and vitality of this graced region,” McElroy said when he learned of his selection as bishop in 2015. “During my years as a priest and bishop, I have continually been struck by this same beauty and vitality in the life of the local church — proclaiming the Gospel, embracing the poor and the marginalized, strengthening family life, forging unity in faith and solidarity amidst great cultural diversity.

“Now I have the privilege of becoming a member and a leader in this magnificent Catholic community and the society which surrounds it. There are not words to describe the tremendous joy and gratitude to God which I feel at this moment.”

McElroy will formally receive the prestigious red cardinal’s hat from Pope Francis in a consistory ceremony at the Vatican on Aug. 27. As a cardinal, he would be eligible to vote for Francis’ eventual successor if a conclave were to be held.

“By naming Bishop Robert McElroy as a cardinal, Pope Francis has shown his pastoral care for the Church in the United States,” said Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“I have known and have had the privilege of working with Cardinal- designate McElroy for many years,” Gomez continued. “As brother bishops, we’ve worked together on many issues and initiatives in service to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as the California Catholic Conference. His strong faith and the pastoral concern for the faithful he has shown in his diocese will serve the global Church well. Please join me in praying for the continued ministry of Bishop McElroy.”

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