25/06/2012 04:48

Arch. Francesco Panfilo SDB of Rabaul to receive pallium from Pope in Rome

On the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the 29th of June every year, the Pope bestows the pallium on new archbishops all over the world. Papua New Guinea has four Catholic archbishops, in Port Moresby, Madang, Mt. Hagen, and Rabaul. Arch. Francesco Panfilo SDB succeeded Arch. Karl Hesse in Rabaul on 15th August 2011. Therefore he is scheduled to receive the pallium on the 29th of June this year, while the other three Archbishops from PNG already received it previously.  

The pallium is a portion of the Archbishop's garment, worn on the shoulders, and, like all the garments of the clergy, it has symbolic significance. Here is how Pope Benedict XVI at last year’s celebration explained the meaning of the pallium and its importance as a symbol of the unity of the Archbishops with the Successor of St. Peter:

“The metropolitan archbishops appointed since the feast of Saints Peter and Paul last year are now going to receive the pallium. What does this mean?

CHRIST’S YOKE. “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.

THE SHEPHERD AND THE LAMBS. “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 (21 January). 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.

COMMUNION. “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.” (CBC Communications 240612 – giorgiolicini@yahoo.com)