God Bless Him! Archbishop Nienstedt was in Rome this past weekend to receive the pallium, the symbol of his authority as Archbishop of St Paul and Minneapolis. It was carried live on EWTN. I missed it.
"When we take the pallium upon our shoulders", [Pope Benedict XVI] explained, "this gesture reminds us of the Shepherd who takes upon his shoulders the lost sheep, which on its own was not able to find the way home, and brings it back to the fold". But Jesus Christ "also wants men who will 'carry' together with Him" lost humanity.
"The pallium", he added, "becomes a symbol of our love for the Shepherd, Christ, and of our loving together with Him - it becomes a symbol of the call to love men as He does, together with Him: those who are searching, those who are questioning, those who are sure of themselves and those who are humble, the simple and the great; it becomes a symbol of the call to love all with the power of Christ and in view of Christ, so that they may find Him, and in Him, themselves".
The pallium, he added finally, is a sign of collegiality, of unity among all the bishops and with the pope: "No one is a Shepherd on his own. We are successors to the Apostles thanks only to being in collegial communion, in which the college of the Apostles finds its continuation. Communion, the 'we' of the Shepherds, is part of being Shepherds, because the flock is only one, the one Church of Jesus Christ And finally, this 'with' also refers to communion with Peter and with his successor as the guarantee of unity". Whispers in the Loggia
Father Z has his own perspective on the ceremony:
Before they receive the pallium the Archbishops take an oath:Ego…
Archiepiscopus [PLACE and NAME]
beato Petro apostolo,
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae,
ac tibi, Summo Pontifici,
tuisque legitimis Successoribus
semper fidelis ero et oboediens.
Ita me Deus omnipotens adiuvet.
Archbishop of the _ diocese (these are adjectives)
will always be faithful and obedient to
St. Peter the apostle,
the Holy Roman Church,
and to you, the Supreme Pontiff
and to your legitimate Successors.
So help me God Almighty.
In recent decades this oath is made also in the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople or his delegate.
The Holy Father blessed the pallia today with these words (my close but not too literal translation):O God, eternal Pastor of souls, who committed to blessed Peter the Apostle those who are called "the flock" by Jesus Christ Your Son, that they should be governed by him after the model of the Good Shepherd (boni Pastoris typo) , through our ministry pour forth the grace of Your blessing upon these Pallia, which as symbols You desired to be concrete signs (documenta) of pastoral care.
Receive the our humble prayers and grant through the intercession and merits of the Apostles, that whoever will bear them, You generously making it so, may understand himself to be the Shepherd of Your flock, and will show forth in his work that which is signified by the name.
Let him take up the evangelical yoke lain upon his neck, and let it be for him so light and sweet, that in running by example swiftly along the way of your commands, he may merit to be admitted into the everlasting pasture.
When the Pope places the pallium on the neck of the archbishop kneeling before him, he says:For the glory of Almighty God and the praise of the blessed Virgin Mary and of saints Peter and Paul, for the decorum of the Sees committed to you, unto a sign of the authority of a metropolitan, we bestow upon you the Pallium taken from the Confession of saint Peter, so that you may use it within the confines of your ecclesiastical provinces.There are some nice things here. First, the image of a tessera is lovely. A tessera is literally a small block or cube. It is used to describe the little cubes that make up a mosaic. It is still the Italian word for an officially issued pass or a ticket or i.d. card. In this case it makes me think of how each of these archbishops, so different in themselves and in very different places through the world, are contributing in their individual way to the "big picture".
May this Pallium be for your a symbol of unity and a token (tessera) of communion with the Apostolic See; may it be a bond of charity (vinculum caritatis) and a spur of fortitude, so that in the day of the Coming and the revelation of the great God and prince of shepherds Jesus Christ, you may together with the the flocks entrusted to you obtain (potiamini) the stole of immortality and glory.