Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pallium Primer

Tomorrow, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, four U.S. archbishops will be in Rome to participate in the Pallium Mass. Each of them -- along with all archbishops appointed in the past year all around the world -- will receive a Pallium from Pope Benedict XVI.

So what is the Pallium?

One man with over 25 years of experience wearing one, Cardinal Roger Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles, explains on

It is a circular band about 2" wide, worn about the neck and having two pendants--one hanging down in front and one behind. It is worn over the chasuble at Mass. Every February two lambs are blessed each year and their white wool is used to make the Pallium. The wool is presented to the Pope, and Sisters then make the Pallium for the new Archbishops. ... The new Palliums are solemnly blessed on the eve of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, and are kept in a special silver-gilt container in front of the Main Altar in St. Peter's Basilica.

The four U.S. archbishops who are receiving this special sign of their office are:

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller

Archbishop of San Antonio

Age 54

Ordained a priest June 22, 1984

Previously served as auxiliary bishop of Chicago (2003-10)

Currently youngest archbishop in USA

Archbishop Jose Gomez

Archbishop of Los Angeles

Age 59

Ordained a priest August 15, 1978

Previously served as auxiliary bishop of Denver (2001-04), archbishop of San Antonio (2005-10), coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles (2010-11)

First Latino appointed to a U.S. diocese traditionally headed by a cardinal

Archbishop Paul Stagg Coakley

Archbishop of Oklahoma City

Age 56

Ordained a priest May 21, 1983

Previously served as bishop of Salina, Kansas (2004-10)

Fourth archbishop of Oklahoma City

Archbishop James Peter Sartain

Archbishop of Seattle

Age 59

Ordained a priest July 15, 1978

Previously served as bishop of Little Rock (2000-06), bishop of Joliet (2006-10)

All three bishops heading dioceses in the state of Washington (Seattle, Yakima, Spokane) retired and were succeeded between June 2010 and April 2011.

The presence of Archbishop Gomez on this list raises another detail about the Pallium, that even an archbishop who's previously served as an archbishop in another diocese receives a new Pallium with his new assignment. The U.S. Church saw this recently with Archbishop Timothy Dolan's 2009 appointment to New York. Archbishop Dolan had previously served as archbishop of Milwaukee.

Hat tip to David Cheney, Doug Weller.

No comments: