Ordinarily a consistory is announced at least one month before it is held. If he follows that tradition, Pope John Paul could announce the February consistory at either of his weekly public audiences, on Wednesday, January 14, or on Sunday, January 18. He will be in Cuba the following week.
A consistory, at which the Pope elevates bishops to the College of Cardinals, has been anticipated in Rome for several months. There are sixteen "vacancies" in the college, under the prescribed limit for the number of cardinals who may vote in a papal election. Current rules prohibit cardinals above the age of 80 from voting.