Archbishop Mark travels to Rome to collect the pallium

Later today (Monday 27th June), Archbishop Mark will make the journey to Rome in preparation for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Wednesday. He will join Pope Francis for the Pontifical Mass of the Feast during which the pallia are blessed and presented to new Metropolitan Archbishops.

St Peter and St Paul stand as the two great pillars of the Church, for their work of carrying the Good News of Jesus Christ to the known world.  Through their fidelity to Jesus, their travels and their tireless witness, they planted the seedbed for the growth of the kingdom of God.  St. Peter was foremost the Apostle to the Jewish people concerned with bringing the message to those of Jewish stock that the Messiah had come, suffered, died and rose again from the dead.  St. Paul was tasked as Apostle to the Gentiles, those people who were not of Jewish decent and to whom the doors of Salvation are also open.  They are models for us to emulate in the tireless work of evangelisation; a work that continues until Christ comes again at the end of time.  Their encounter with Jesus touched their hearts and compelled them to bring Him to others.  Both St Peter and St Paul were martyred for the faith in Rome, where the remains of both remain to this day.

On Wednesday as we celebrate these great pillars of the Church, Pope Francis will preside over the Mass of the feast during which the pallia are blessed.  The pallia are woollen scarves worn around the neck on top of the Mass vestments of Metropolitan Archbishops.  They are a circular band about two inches wide, worn about the neck, breast, and shoulders, and having two pendants, one hanging down in front and one behind.  They are decorated with six small black crosses — one each on the breast and back, one on each shoulder, and one on each pendant. The crosses on the breast, back, and left shoulder are provided with a loop for the reception of a gold pin set with a precious stone as a reminder of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The use of the pallium is reserved to the Pope and Metropolitan Archbishops. Worn by the Pope, the pallium symbolises the plenitude of pontifical office; worn by Archbishops, it signifies their participation in the supreme pastoral power of the Pope, who concedes it to them for their proper Church provinces.  Its use can be traced back to the 4th century where Pope Marcus (336) conferred the pallium on the bishop of Ostia.

On Tuesday evening the new pallia will be laid before the tomb of St Peter, where they will remain until the Pontifical Mass the next day. Until recently the Pope placed the pallium on the shoulders of the new Archbishops at the Mass.  In a recent change to the ceremony, Pope Francis passes the pallium to the new Archbishops privately after the Mass.  The Archbishops then bring the pallium back to their  Metropolitan Province where it is formally conferred on them by the Papal Nuncio, among their flock, in a separate ceremony.

A date has yet to be fixed for the imposition of the pallium on Archbishop Mark, but it is anticipated that it will take place in the autumn.  You can join the live feed from the Pontifical Mass in Rome at 8.30am (UK Time) on Wednesday, by clicking here.