The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales will today be created a cardinal by the pope.
The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, will receive the red hat at a ceremony in Rome.
Archbishop Nichols, the 11th Archbishop of Westminster to receive the honour, said when it was announced last month that he was "deeply moved" by it.
He added: ''The Catholic Church in our countries has always had a profound and loving loyalty to the Holy Father, the Successor of St Peter. This appointment enables me, on behalf of all, to serve the pope in a direct and prolonged way.
''Personally, this is a humbling moment when I am asked to take a place in this service of the Holy See and in the line of much loved Cardinal Archbishops of Westminster.
''I seek the blessing of Almighty God for these new responsibilities and I ask for the prayers of all people of faith that I may fulfil them with energy and devotion.''
The Archbishop is one of 19 senior clerics chosen by the pope to be elevated to the Catholic clergy's second highest rank.
It means he will be granted a place at the conclave which will elect the next pope.
Born in Crosby, Liverpool, in November 1945, Archbishop Nichols studied for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome from 1963 to 1970, gaining licences in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University.
He was ordained as a priest in Rome in 1969 before taking a MA degree in theology at Manchester University.
In 1984 he was appointed general secretary of the Bishops' Conference in England & Wales and was named Archbishop of Birmingham in 2000 before returning to Westminster in 2009 as Archbishop, the same year he was unanimously elected President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
The Archbishop courted controversy earlier this month when he branded the Coalition's welfare reforms as a ''disgrace'' which leave vulnerable people facing ''hunger and destitution''.
He said the Government had decimated even the most ''basic safety net'' for those threatened by poverty.
He told the Telegraph: ''People do understand that we do need to tighten our belts and be much more responsible and careful in public expenditure.
''But I think what is happening is two things: one is that the basic safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution has actually been torn apart.
''It no longer exists and that is a real, real dramatic crisis.
''And the second is that, in this context, the administration of social assistance, I am told, has become more and more punitive.
''So if applicants don't get it right then they have to wait for 10 days, for two weeks with nothing - with nothing.
''For a country of our affluence, that quite frankly is a disgrace.''
The ceremony is due to take place in St Peter's Basilica, from 9.55am UK time.
Each bishop being appointed cardinal will promise fidelity to the death to the pope, and receive a red biretta and a ring from him. The reason that the biretta is red is to symbolise the wearer's willingness to give their lives for the Catholic faith.
An ancient custom is that each cardinal will also be appointed titular bishop to a Roman church. This appointment reflects the original role of the College of Cardinals.
It is usual that following the ceremony, there are various receptions held in the Vatican. These are often held on the first floor of the Apostolic Palace, but they have also been held in the Audience Hall and Vatican Museum.
The pope and the new cardinals celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Basilica the next day.