Let this pallium be a symbol of unity with the Apostolic See let it be a bond of charity and an incitement to fortitude…
... words from His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI before he gave the pallium (or I suppose the plural pallia
would be more appropriate) to 46 Metropolitan Archbishops who had gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome for Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. (there were an additional five Archbishops to were receive who were unable to be in Rome)
The Archbishops represent over 25 countries, and five -- as I'm sure you've read several times on this blog -- were from Canada. It's an unprecedented number and a rare occasion for the Canadian Church. (To your right, are pictures of each one receiving the pallium; watch Friday's Zoom
for footage of the five receiving.) It's certainly a special gift to our Church as we celebrate Canada Day this weekend! Five Archdioceses have received new shepherds in the last several months to guide and watch over their flock. Five join Peter in proclaiming "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). In Friday's homily, Pope Benedict noted that by Simon Peter's confession “Peter is given a charge to protect the whole flock of Christ.” And now, as the Archbishops have received their pallium, they join themselves with the Holy Father sharing in this great mission.
Before receiving the pallium, the Archbishops recited an oath of allegiance to the Church:
I shall be ever faithful and obedient to Holy Peter the Apostle, to the Holy Apostolic Church of Rome, to you, the Holy Father and to your legitimate successors so help me Almighty God.
I would not be surprised if people reading this find these words shocking. The idea of obedience, of the submission of one's will, seems entirely foreign to many of us. This, however, is a beautiful gesture of humility by each Archbishop who acknowledges that though this is 'my life,' 'I live it for God and His Church.' It also recognizes that though holding a position of power, the Archbishop, is still a servant to God and the mission He asks His Church to carry out.
As quoted by Fr. Rosica on Friday's Zoom
interview, Pope Benedict described the pallium as the sweet yoke of Christ placed on the shoulders of the Archbishops; it's both a burden and a blessing!
Let us stop for a moment, and say a prayer for our newly recognized Archbishops -- Archbishops Collins, O'Brien, Pettipas, Prendergast, and Smith. It doesn't have to be a complicated prayer, something simple, but let us just pray that these Archbishops may be zealous in their love for their flock, courageous in their words and deeds, strong in moments of weakness, and faithful in the mission that God has entrusted to them.
United to our Holy Father, may they be guided by the Holy Spirit, supported by the intercession of the great pillars Saints Peter and Paul, comforted by Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and protected by the patron of Canada, Saint Joseph!
May God bless our Church, and our country on this Canada Day weekend!
-photos courtesy of L’Osservatore Romano