A new insignia for Archbishop O’Malley

A. The simplest description is “a white circular band of wool two inches wide, with two weighted pendants, front and back, worn around the neck, shoulders and breast, ornamented with six black crosses of silk.”

The origin of the word itself is from the Latin for “covering.” From the same Latin word we get “pall” which refers both to the white covering of a deceased’s coffin used often in the Rite of Christian Burial and also for the stiffened linen covering sometimes used to cover the chalice during the celebration of Mass.

Q. What is used for?

A. The pallium, a Mass vestment, is used by a metropolitan archbishop on more solemn occasions when he is the principal celebrant of a Mass. Among the more noticeable of these would be the celebrations of ordinations, confirmations, dedications of churches or blessings of abbots or abbesses. In short, it is used at liturgical celebrations usually celebrated by a bishop.

The pope wears his pallium all the time and wherever he is. Only one bishop may use a pallium at each occasion. Thus if the pope is visiting in a metropolitan see he alone wears his pallium.

Q. May Archbishop O’Malley wear this all the time and everywhere?

A. Both Canon Law and liturgical regulations describe the appropriate times when the pallium may be used. Because the pallium is a symbol of his metropolitan status, he may use it only within the metropolitan province, but not outside of it.

Thus for example, if Bishop Kenneth Angell of Burlington, Vt., invited the archbishop to celebrate Mass for a special event there, Archbishop O’Malley could use his pallium there. If, however, Bishop Mulvee of Providence, R.I., extended the same invitation, the archbishop could not use his pallium there because Providence is in the Hartford province.

By way of coincidence, for the first time both metropolitans in New England received their pallia on the same day. Archbishop Mansell of Hartford, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis and Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia were among the 44 new metropolitan archbishops receiving the pallium on June 29.

Q. Did you say Cardinal Rigali received a pallium? Doesn’t he already have one?

A. Good question. Yes, he has one that he may no longer use! A pallium is a unique symbol. It is both personal (for the office holder himself) and restricted (tied to his metropolitan see). So Cardinal Rigali does have his pallium from St. Louis. While it is his, he can’t use it in Philadelphia. He must have a new one for Philadelphia. The law says that if he is moved to another metropolitan see the archbishop must ask for another pallium for that new see.

Cardinal Rigali is not the only American archbishop who has two pallia. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has two — one for Chicago and one from his previous archdiocese of Portland, Ore.; Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, D.C., has one for our Federal capital city and another from Newark, N.J.; Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco has one for the City by the Bay and also has one from Portland, Ore.

When a metropolitan archbishop dies he may be buried with most recent pallium he has received. All other pallia he has received must also be buried with him.

Q. Who makes these?

A. The Benedictine Sisters of the convent of St. Ceceilia in Trastevere in Rome make the pallia.

Each year on the feast of St. Agnes, Jan. 21, two lambs are blessed in the Church of St. Agnes near the Piazza Navona. Recall that one of St. Agnes’ symbols in art is the lamb, which recalls also the “Lamb of God” — Jesus Christ.

After the lambs have been blessed, they are given to the sisters in Trastevere who care for them, and when the time comes the lambs are shorn of their wool. It is this wool that the sisters then weave into the pallia.

When the pallia are finished they are brought to the Vatican. They are blessed by the pope during the ceremony when they are presented to the new metropolitans. Those to be bestowed at other times are then kept in a special container under the Altar of Crucifixion, over the tomb of St. Peter.

Q. When is the pallium given?

A. The Holy Father can give the pallium to an archbishop whenever he wishes. Early in his papacy, however, Pope John Paul II began the custom of giving the pallium to new metropolitan archbishops on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

So each year on June 29 all those who have been named and installed in their new metropolitan sees since the previous June 29 are invited to Rome to receive this symbol from the hands of the Holy Father. This year, 44 new archbishops received their pallia along with Archbishop O’Malley.

An exception is made if an archbishop cannot for a practical or political reason come to Rome. In this case the papal representative or someone he designates would give the new archbishop his pallium in the metropolitan cathedral. This year eight new metropolitans will receive their pallia outside the ceremony at Rome.

Q. You said it has several symbolic meanings?

A. Yes. Here are a few: a symbol of the metropolitan’s jurisdiction in his province; a symbol of his unity with the Bishop of Rome, a reminder that the archbishop is “yoked” to the Chief Shepherd of the Flock, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

A few words about each.

G The metropolitan archbishop has a limited but real responsibility for the government and pastoral care of the dioceses of his province. The new “Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops” directs the metropolitan to be attentive to his brother bishops and to assist them with his advice and prayers, and even to correct them “fraternally” if the need arises.

G The unity of the metropolitan archbishop with the Holy Father is beautifully symbolized not only on the feast — Sts. Peter and Paul — chosen for the giving of the pallium, but also from the fact that the pallium is taken from the “tomb of the apostle Peter” of whom the pope is the successor.

G As noted above, the use of the lambs’ wool in the making of the pallium reminds the new archbishop that he is given additional care for the flock of Christ who is the Lamb of God.

Q. How did Archbishop O’Malley receive his pallium?

A. During the Mass in St. Peter’s Square and after his homily and that of Patriarch Bartholomew I and the recitation of the Creed, the Holy Father remained seated, thew new metropolitans were presented by name and archdiocese to the pope. Each made an oath in Latin:

I, Seán Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, will be always faithful and obedient to the blessed apostle Peter, to the holy, apostolic Church of Rome and to you, the Supreme Pontiff, and to your legitimate successors. So, help me God.

Then the deacons brought the pallia to be blessed to the pope. The Holy Father blessed the pallia according to the prescribed formula. He then proclaimed the words of imposition:

To the glory of Almighty God and the praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the apostles Peter and Paul, and of the Holy Roman Church, for the honor of the Churches, which have been placed in your care, and as symbol of your authority as metropolitan archbishop: We confer on you the pallium taken from the tomb of Peter to wear within the limits of your ecclesiastical province.

May this pallium be a symbol of unity and a sign of your communion with the Apostolic See, a bond of love, and an incentive to courage. On the day of the coming and manifestation of our great God and chief shepherd, Jesus Christ, may you and the flock entrusted to you be clothed with immortality and glory. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The new archbishops approached him individually. Archbishop O’Malley made a profound bow to the pope and then knelt in front of him. The pope then placed a pallium on the archbishop’s shoulders.

Q. Do I see a clip or pin on the pallium?

A. Good catch. Sometimes what is functional becomes decorative, and occasionally vice versa. The “pallium pins” are an example of functional becoming decorative. Previously pins were used to keep the pallium in place; now these pins are purely decorative. By custom there are three, and they are used at the front and back and on the left shoulder.

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...