Pallium Day

Which is also, of course, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the rock and the apostle to the gentiles, in many ways the foundations of the Church. And also, it is the day upon which Pope Benedict XVI celebrates 60 years of priesthood.

As every year, the metropolitan archbishops, standing firmly in the line of the aforementioned saints and in union with the Holy Father, today receive their pallia. In the words of the pope, from today’s homily:

“What does this mean? It may remind us in the first instance of Christ’s easy yoke that is laid upon us (cf. Mt 11:29f.). Christ’s yoke is identical with his friendship. It is a yoke of friendship and therefore “a sweet yoke”, but as such it is also a demanding yoke, one that forms us. It is the yoke of his will, which is a will of truth and love. For us, then, it is first and foremost the yoke of leading others to friendship with Christ and being available to others, caring for them as shepherds. This brings us to a further meaning of the pallium: it is woven from the wool of lambs blessed on the feast of Saint Agnes. Thus it reminds us of the Shepherd who himself became a lamb, out of love for us. It reminds us of Christ, who set out through the mountains and the deserts, in which his lamb, humanity, had strayed. It reminds us of him who took the lamb – humanity – me – upon his shoulders, in order to carry me home. It thus reminds us that we too, as shepherds in his service, are to carry others with us, taking them as it were upon our shoulders and bringing them to Christ. It reminds us that we are called to be shepherds of his flock, which always remains his and does not become ours. Finally the pallium also means quite concretely the communion of the shepherds of the Church with Peter and with his successors – it means that we must be shepherds for unity and in unity, and that it is only in the unity represented by Peter that we truly lead people to Christ.”

The harvest is quite large today, with 49 new metropolitan bishops appointed since last year’s ceremony. A significant number comes from traditionally Catholic countires and areas, such as South-Anmerica, the Philippines, but also various sub-Saharan countries, North-America, and a few nations in Europe and Asia.

Archbishop Lacroix of Québec receives his pallium from the Holy Father

Below follows the list of new metropolitan archbishops. The vast majority of these men were specifically apointed to archbishops, but a number became so because their dioceses were elevated to archdioceses. Recently, this happened with two dioceses in Angola – Malanje and Saurimo – and three in Brazil – Passo Funda, Pelotas and Santa Maria.

Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze, Benin City
Archbishop Thumma Bala, Hyderabad
Archbishop John Barwa, Cuttack-Bhubaneswar
Archbishop Jacinto Bergmann, Pelotas
Archbishop Vincenzo Bertolone, Catanzaro-Squillace
Archbishop Pedro Brito Guimarães, Palmas
Archbishop Pierre-Marie Joseph Carré, Montpellier
Archbishop Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Daegu
Archbishop Fernando Natalio Chomalí Garib, Concepción
Archbishop Paul Stagg Coakley, Oklahoma City
Archbishop Sérgio da Rocha, Brasília
Archbishop Charles Henry Dufour, Kingston in Jamaica
Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Santiago de Chile
Archbishop Antoine Ganyé, Cotonou
Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, San Antonio
Archbishop José Horacio Gómez, Los Angeles
Archbishop José Manuel Imbamba, Saurimo
Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Québec
Archbishop Dimas Lara Barbosa, Campo Grande
Archbishop Jairo Jaramillo Monsalve, Barranquila
Archbishop Darío de Jesús Monsalve Mejía , Cali
Archbishop Pascal N’Koué, Parakou
Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia, Turin
Archbishop Paul Yembuado Ouédraogo, Bobo-Dioulasso
Archbishop Jose Serofia Palma, Cebu
Archbishop Luis María Pérez de Onraita Aguirre, Malanje
Archbishop Guire Poulard, Port-au-Prince
Archbishop Juan Alberto Puiggari, Paraná
Archbishop Johannes Maria Trilaksyanta Pujasumarta, Semarang
Archbishop Murilo Sebastião Ramos Krieger, São Salvador de Bahia
Archbishop Gonzalo Restrepo Restrepo, Manizales
Archbishop Hélio Adelar Rubert, Santa Maria
Archbishop Juda Thadaeus Ruwa’ichi, Mwanza
Archbishop Rémi Joseph Gustave Sainte-Marie, Lilongwe
Archbishop Jesús Rubén Salazar Gómez, Bogotá
Archbishop James Peter Sartain, Seattle
Archbishop Pedro Ercílio Simon, Passo Fundo
Archbishop William Slattery, Pretoria
Archbishop George Stack, Cardiff
Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics, Riga
Archbishop Fausto Gabriel Trávez Trávez, Quito
Archbishop Marjan Turnšek, Maribor
Archbishop Sergio Lasam Utleg, Tuguegarao
Archbishop Oscar Julio Vian Morales, Guatemala
Archbishop Lewis Zeigler, Monrovia

Five of these men, namely archbishops Barwa, N’Koue, Poulard, Pujasumarta and Zeigler, were unable to be in Rome for the ceremony. They will receive their pallia at a later date.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Stats for April 2011

The trend begun in March continued in April. With a nice round 5,900  to the blog, April 2011 is the best month since I began blogging (not counting the crazy peak of July 2010 of course). Here are the 10 most popular blog posts, with number 1 largely thanks to it having been picked up by the New Liturgical Movement. The post about the Stations of the Cross is an oldie from Lent 2010, but it’s fun to see it serving such a purpose this year once more. As for the rest, of course Blessed John Paul II played a major role, as did Archbishop Eijk and former bishop Vangheluwe.

1: First EF Mass in Groningen off to a good start 354
2: The Stations of the Cross 159
3: Blessed John Paul II 99
4: 22 October picked as feast day of Blessed John Paul II 76
5: Belgian bishops speak up against Vangheluwe 74
6: A bishop punished too mildly? 70
7: Pope to rein in Abp. Eijk? Not likely when this is the best proof against him 60
8: To be prepared 46
9: A new archbishop for the Celtic fringe 44
10: The list is out 38

A new archbishop for the Celtic fringe

On the sixth anniversary of his election to the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI appointed a new archbishop of Cardiff. It is Bishop George Stack, until today one of the three auxiliary bishops of Westminster. The metropolitan see of Wales had been vacant since Archbishop Peter Smith was appointed to Southwark almost a year ago.

Archbishop-elect Stack was born in Ireland in 1946. In 1972 he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Westminster, the same archdiocese of which he became an auxiliary bishop in 2001. He now becomes the ninth ordinary of Cardiff, which is an archdiocese since 1916.

Cardiff is one of three Catholic dioceses in Wales – the others are Wrexham and Menevia – but in numbers it is fairly small. Only about 6% of the population, some 82,000, is Catholic. Nonetheless, it is the first diocese of Wales. Both Menevia and Wrexham were created out of the archdiocese, which once covered all of Wales and adjoining counties in England, although it was then known as the Vicariate Apostolic of Wales.

Via the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop-elect Stack writes:

“I am humbled and honoured at the trust Pope Benedict XVI has placed in appointing me Archbishop of Cardiff.

“Although I am sad to be leaving the Archdiocese of Westminster, in which I have served as priest for 29 years and auxiliary bishop for 10 years, I look forward to serving the people and clergy of the Church in Cardiff with love and faithfulness in the years that lie ahead.

“I am aware of the long and noble history of Christianity in Wales and the special gifts the Celtic people bring to the Universal Church. I hope to share in this rich tradition of faith.”

A date for the installation for the new archbishop will be published soon.