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POPE-PALLIUM Jun-30-2008 (1,160 words) With photos. xxxi

Pope gives palliums to archbishops, says church's mission is to unite

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The mission of the Catholic Church is to overcome the divisions of the world and bring God's healing power, love and peace to all people, Pope Benedict XVI told new archbishops from more than 30 countries.

The permanent mission of St. Peter and his successors is that the church "never be identified with only one nation, only one culture or only one state. That it always be the church of all people," the pope said June 29 during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the patron saints of Rome.

An Orthodox delegation led by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople also attended the Mass. Each year the pope and the patriarch normally send official delegations to the feast day celebrations of each other's patron saints.

During the Mass, the pope gave the archbishops named within the previous year a pallium, a circular band of white wool marked with six black crosses. The pallium symbolizes an archbishop's authority and unity with the pope.

The pope and archbishops were dressed in red vestments. The pope did not wear the longer, more traditional style of pallium he had reintroduced after his installation as bishop of Rome in 2005. Instead he wore a pallium similar to the kind worn by his predecessors -- a closed circular wool band with a foot-long strip hanging from the center down the front and the back with six red crosses.

The 40 archbishops, who concelebrated the Mass with the pope, included U.S. Archbishops Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore, John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Ala.; and Canadian Archbishops Anthony Mancini of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Martin Currie of Saint John's, Newfoundland.

Two archbishops, who were unable to travel to Rome, will receive their palliums from the Vatican nuncios in their home countries.

Before the Mass, the pope greeted Patriarch Bartholomew and a six-member Orthodox delegation at the entrance of St. Peter's Basilica.

The patriarch said he made the trip to Rome to help celebrate the opening of the Pauline jubilee year June 28 and to "reciprocate the honor and love" shown by Pope Benedict when he visited Constantinople in 2006 to celebrate the November feast day of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Constantinople.

Seated alongside each other in front of the basilica's main altar, the pope and the patriarch both delivered homilies and recited together the Nicene Creed in Greek as it is used in the liturgy of the Byzantine churches. The two leaders also blessed the faithful -- the pope in Latin and the patriarch in Greek.

At the end of the Mass, Pope Benedict and Patriarch Bartholomew descended the stairs under the basilica's main altar to pray together at the tomb of St. Peter.

In his homily, Patriarch Bartholomew said despite the "the notable difficulties" between the two churches the Orthodox church is praying that these problems may be overcome "as quickly as possible" so glory may be given to God.

Pope Benedict, in his homily, said the unity of the church is needed to help heal a divided world.

Because of globalization and new technologies, people can more easily be linked to one another; but this superficial unity is based on "material things, (and) we are in greater need of inner unity that comes from God's peace," he said.

The world needs "the unity of all people who through Jesus Christ have become brothers and sisters," the pope said.

Archbishop Nienstedt told Catholic News Service after the ceremony that the patriarch's presence "was a very symbolic gesture" which was borne out of the hard work of Pope John Paul II establishing closer relations with the Orthodox church.

"I think Pope Benedict XVI is reaping the harvest of those efforts" and the patriarch's participation at the Mass brings the churches "one step closer to that unity for which Christ prayed," he said.

"That they all might be one" is his own episcopal motto, the archbishop said, and ever since he was a bishop his prayer has been for greater unity in the church, among the churches and in the world.

In his homily, the pope said Sts. Peter and Paul became brothers through their martyrdom in Rome and together they became "the founders of the new Christian Rome" and a new kind of city.

He said true hope for humanity lies in this new city, which "must be continually created anew in the midst of the old human city, which remains threatened by the opposing forces of sin and egoism."

St. Paul's mission was to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth, the pope said, but the apostle came to Rome because he saw it as part of the universality and catholicity of his mission.

The apostle saw that "Rome must make the faith visible to the whole world; it must be the place of encounter in the one faith," the pope said. St. Peter's mission was to create unity in this catholicity, he said.

His permanent task and that of his successors is to "unite humanity beyond every border and, in the midst of the divisions of this world, make present God's peace, the reconciling power of his love," Pope Benedict said.

When the pope gave the Eucharist, communicants knelt and received the Eucharist on their tongues.

Before the eucharistic liturgy, the pope blessed and placed the pallium over the shoulders of each archbishop as they knelt individually before him.

"The pallium becomes a symbol of our love for the shepherd, Christ," and reminds those who wear it to love all people as Jesus does, the pope said. The pallium also symbolizes collegiality and unity among the world's archbishops and with the pope, he said.

After the ceremony, Archbishop Rodi told CNS "it was such a moving day to have the patriarch present" and "to share a very special day with my brother archbishops who are all part of the family of God throughout the whole church."

He said it was a "special privilege" to be able to tell the pope during the brief exchange they had when he received his pallium that the Archdiocese of Mobile was praying for the pope.

Archbishop Currie said receiving the pallium "was very emotional" because he could feel "a bond and feel bonded to the pope, a closeness" that he found to be very moving.

He said he had the joy of being accompanied to Rome by friends and family members including his 87-year-old mother who told him the ceremony was "the next best thing to God."

Archbishop Currie said his mother was going to meet the pope after a June 30 audience with archbishops and pilgrims.

"She's all excited and wants to know: 'What do I say? What do I do?' I told her to just be yourself," he said.

END


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