“The pallium recalls the sheep that the shepherd is called to bear on his shoulders. It is a sign that the shepherds do not live for themselves but for their sheep.” Pope Francis said this to thirty-one new Archbishops, including Archbishop John Bonaventure Kwofie CSSp of Accra, in his homily during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, on June 29, the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul. At the beginning of the Mass, Pope Francis blessed the palliums which would be given to the new archbishops.
The pallium is a liturgical vestment that dates to the 4th century and eventually became associated with bishops. By the 11th century, metropolitan archbishops had to seek permission from the pope to wear it. This developed into an annual celebration for which the newly appointed archbishops from around the world would travel to Rome and be given the pallium by the Pope.
The pallium is made of a circular strip of white lamb wool about two inches wide and is placed over the shoulders. Two vertical bands, extending from the circular strip in the front and back, give the pallium a Y-shaped appearance. Six black crosses, one each on the chest and back and on each shoulder and band, adorn the vestment.
In his homily, Pope Francis called all the faithful to follow the example of St. Peter and St. Paul who, in order to possess life, lived it fully for Christ and gave it away for Christ. The Pope called us not to be lukewarm Christians who lived by half measures and who allow their love for Our Lord to grow cold. He said that we must rediscover our vocation to be apostolic messengers like St. Peter and St. Paul through a daily relationship with Jesus and through the power of His forgiveness.
Those from Ghana present at the ceremony in St Peter’s included His Eminence Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Her Excellency Mrs. Eudora Hilda Quartey, Ghanaian Ambassador to Italy, Mr. Godwin Baletum Amonzen, Minister at the Ghanaian Embassy to the Holy See, Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Gosu, Dean of Tema-Battor Deanery and members of Corpus Christi Parish, Rev. Fr. Raymond Osei Tutu of Verona Italy, Rev. Fr. Adusei-Poku, members of the Ghanaian Catholic Community in Rome, and Ghanaian priests, religious and seminarians studying in Rome.
By Augustus Aikins