With the new nominations, the 80-year-old pontiff has personally appointed all but 10 of the cardinals eligible to vote in a secret conclave to choose a pope.
The total number of voting cardinal traditionally has been 120, but the pope announced that he was breaking that custom, bringing the number to 128.
``I have the joy to announce that on Feb. 21, the feast of the throne of St. Peter, I will hold a consistory in which, breaking yet again the numerical limit set by Pope Paul VI ... I will nominate 37 new cardinals. Here are their names,'' John Paul said, going on to read them, one by one, during his usual Sunday noon appearance from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square.
The new cardinals come from five continents.
They include three from the United States: Monsignor Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington; Monsignor Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, and a Jesuit theologian, Avery Dulles, a professor at New York's Fordham University who at 82 years of age is too old to vote in an conclave.
Dulles is the son of John Foster Dulles, who was U.S. secretary of state during the Cold War years.
Other prominent names include a Vietnamese, Monsignor Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan; the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio; the archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor; and the archbishop of Caracas, Ignacio Antonio Velasco Garcia.
Others are the archbishop of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne and Lyon's archbishop Louis-Marie Bille. Also named is Dublin's archbishop, Desmond Connell.
Other Latin American nominations go to Quito's archbishop, Antonio Jose Gonzalez Zumarraga; the archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia, in Brazil, Geraldo Majella Agnelo; and Bogota's archbishop, Pedro Rubiano Saenz.
Also Brazil's Claudio Hummes, Sao Paulo's archbishop; Chile's Monsignor Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago; Honduras' Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa; and Lima Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne.
Africa is represented with Abidjan's archbishop, Bernard Agre of the Ivory Coast.
From Europe, the pope nominated Monsignor Jose Da Cruz Policarpo, patriach of Lisbon, and from Spain, Toledo's archbishop, Francisco Alvarez Martinez.
From the former Soviet Union, the archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania, Audrys Juozas Backis, was named to be a cardinal.
Many of the other nominations came from the Vatican's hierarchy, from countries ranging from Italy to Argentina to Syria. Most of those men head Vatican congregations or other offices.
Some of the pope's choices clearly reflected his gratitude for work well done close to him. A Vatican Radio official, Monsignor Roberto Tucci, who traipsed around the world preparing papal pilgrimages for two decades, was among those named to be a cardinal. Turning 80 in April, he won't be eligible to vote in the conclave for very long.
Since becoming pontiff in 1978, John Paul, including Sunday's list, has named a total of 154 cardinals, some of whom have since died.