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Friday, June 27, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, archbishop major of Lviv of the Ukrainians, Ukraine.

- Cardinal Antonio Maria Ruoco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, and an entourage.

- Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio in Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2003 (VIS) - Every year on the June 29th solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Roman Pontiff, during a solemn Eucharistic concelebration, bestows the pallium on new metropolitan archbishops.

The pallium is a white woolen circular band embroidered with six black crosses which is worn over the shoulders and has two hanging pieces, in front and in back. Worn by metropolitan archbishops and by the Pope himself, the pallium symbolizes authority and expresses a particular bond of union with the Roman Pontiff. Palliums are made from the wool shorn from lambs that are blessed by the Pope on the feast of St. Agnes.

In the 1978 document, "De Sacrii Pallii" (Inter Eximia Episcopalis), Pope Paul Vl restricted use of the pallium to the Pope and metropolitan archbishops. In 1984 John Paul II decreed that it would be conferred on the metropolitans by the Pope on the June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Archbishops wear the pallium only in their own archdiocese and only on those days and occasions specified in the 'Pontificale' (a liturgical book which contains the rites for the performance of episcopal functions, with the exception of Mass and Divine Office) or otherwise decreed by the Holy Father. Palliums are worn over the chasuble.

Pope John Paul has, in past ceremonies, spoken of the meaning of the pallium: "The communion of faith is expressed in today's solemn celebration, also through the meaningful gesture of the imposition of the sacred pallium" on the metropolitan archbishops. "The pallium that you receive today is an expression of that unity with the See of Peter and of that witness in agreement with the Christian faith, which must characterize your episcopal ministry."

Every year on the January 21 liturgical memory of the virgin-martyr St. Agnes, for whom the traditional symbol is a lamb, the Pope blesses several baby lambs whose wool will be used to make the palliums. The centuries-old tradition is celebrated annually on the feast of St. Agnes who died about 350 and is buried in the basilica named after her on Rome's Via Nomentana. The lambs are raised by the Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains and the palliums of the newly-shorn wool are made by the sisters of St. Cecilia. Usually in attendance at the ceremony, which takes place in the Pope's private apartments, are two Trappist fathers, two canons of the Chapter of St. John, the dean of the Roman Rota, two "sediari" (former papal chair bearers and now ceremonial officials) and two officials from the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

The new palliums are blessed each year by the Pope on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. They are then put into a coffer below the Altar of the Confessional, where they remain for a year, at which time they are removed and bestowed on the new metropolitans.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Pope received participants in the national congress promoted by the Italian National Federation of the Apostolic Union of the Clergy and representatives of the new Apostolic Union of Lay people.

After mentioning the theme on which they are reflecting, "In local Churches in the way of Trinitarian Communion: diocesan spirituality is spirituality of communion," the Holy Father said that "the mystery of Trinitarian Communion is the high model of reference of ecclesial communion."

John Paul II recalled that in the Apostolic Letter "Novo millennio ineunte" he wrote: "To make the Church the home and school of communion: that is the great challenge facing us in the millennium now beginning." This involves, in the first place, 'promoting a spirituality of communion" which requires, he added, "a radical conversion to Christ, docile openness to the action of the Holy Spirit and a sincere acceptance of our brothers and sisters."

"The World Day of Prayer for the sanctification of the clergy, which by happy coincidence is celebrated today, constitutes a propitious occasion to implore the Lord for the gift of holy and zealous ministers for His Church."

The Pope underlined that "in order to realize this ideal of sanctity all priests must follow the example of the divine Master. ... Jose Maria Escriva, a saint of our times, writes that 'the Lord uses us as torches, to make the light shine out. Much depends on us; if we respond many people will remain in darkness no longer, but will walk instead along paths that lead to eternal life'."

"But," the Pope concluded, "where do we light these torches of light and of sanctity if not in Jesus' heart, inexaustable font of love?"

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Ismael Rueda Sierra, auxiliary of Cartagena, Colombia, as bishop of Socorro y San Gil (area 11,711, population 439,479, Catholics 429,279, priests 142, religious 232), Colombia.

- Msgr. Patrick Pinder, vicar general of the archdiocese of Nassau, Bahamas, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 13,872, population 310,000, Catholics 47,688, priests 28, permanent deacons 14, religious 43). The bishop-elect was born in Nassau in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1980.

- Fr. Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., member of the Divine Vocations Society and pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Newark, U.S.A., as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 1,328, population 2,809,267, Catholics 1,319,558, priests 339, permanent deacons 248, religious 1,633). The bishop-elect was born in Riachao do Jacuipe Bahia, Brazil in 1957 and was ordained a priest in 1975.

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