Pallium-bearing Prelates Need to Be Like Christ

Notes Double Significance of Woolen Band

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The pallium represents both Christ's flock and Christ himself, the Good Shepherd, says Benedict XVI.



The Pope spoke about the significance of the pallium when he bestowed it on 34 new metropolitan archbishops during a Mass on Monday, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The Holy Father performs the Rite of Blessing of the palliums after the Liturgy of the Word. The archbishops stand to profess their fidelity and obedience to the Bishop of Rome and then process to receive the pallium from the hands of the Pope.

In his homily, the Pontiff explained the meaning of the woolen band, "knit with the wool from the lambs that the Pope blesses on the feast of St. Agnes."

"It recalls Christ's lambs and sheep, which the Lord has entrusted to Peter with the task of tending to them," Benedict XVI said, citing the 21st chapter of John.

The pallium, the Pope continued, also "recalls Christ himself, who as the Good Shepherd, takes upon his shoulders the lost sheep -- humanity -- to bring them home."

"It reminds us of the fact that he, the Supreme Pastor, wanted to make himself the Lamb, to take on from within the destiny of all of us, to carry us and heal us from within," he added.

The Holy Father also asked the Lord "to allow us to be upright pastors like him," not out of a sense of obligation, but with "generous spirits."

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On ZENIT's Web page:

List of archbishops who received the pallium: www.zenit.org/article-26285?l=english