Archbishop welcomes pilgrims to Rome for Pallium reception

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
24 Jun 2015

Archbishop Fisher has been invited to Rome by Pope Francis to recieve the Pallium

Archbishop Anthony Fisher today welcomed family, friends and clergy at Domus Australia for the start of a pilgrimage to mark the reception of the Pallium.

As ninth metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop Fisher will be presented with the Pallium by His Holiness, Pope Francis at a Mass on celebrated on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on 29 June at St Peter's Basilica.

The Pallium will then be taken home to Sydney for the formal investiture by the Pope's personal representative in Australia, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, on 25 July at St Mary's Cathedral. It is an occasion to be shared with the clergy of the diocese and parishioners.

The Pallium, a vestment made of lamb's wool and resembling a narrow scarf, has been worn by the Popes since at least the Fourth Century, and is the ancient   symbol of the office of Metropolitan, signifying the close connection with the Church in Rome.

As well as being a mark of communion with the Pope, the Pallium represents the pastoral jurisdiction of the Pope and Metropolitans, and is worn at Mass on more solemn celebrations. It is their insignia as the Shepherds of their flock. The Pallium has sometimes been beautifully described in terms of the Good Shepherd, carrying the lost sheep on his shoulders.  Such a "burden" is actually the joy of the Good Shepherd, who delights in caring for the flock entrusted to him.

Archbishop Fisher welcomes friends and family to Rome for the reception of the Pallium

The Archbishop celebrated a welcome Mass today in the St Peter Chanel chapel of Domus Australia with Fr Gerry Gleeson, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Sydney and a number of Australian priests currently resident in Rome.

The delegation includes the Archbishop's parents, Gloria and Colin Fisher, family members and a number of friends and colleagues from the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Following the Mass, Archbishop Fisher delivered words of welcome at a dinner on the roof top terrace of Domus Australia, Australia's pilgrim house in Rome.

"I am delighted that you and a few more of my dear friends, relatives and colleagues will be with me at St Peter's on this special occasion. During our pilgrimage together we will also experience a number of pilgrimages to sacred sites and be guided through some of the artistic and spiritual treasures of the Church".

St Peter's Basilica in Rome where the Mass for Reception of the Pallium will be celebrated

The Archbishop touched on the significance of various sacred sites on the pilgrimage itinerary including the four major basilicas of Rome, the ancient church of St Clemente, the Vatican museum, the Scarvi (historic excavations beneath St Peter's), a special guided tour of Vatican museum, the Vatican library and Sistine chapel.

The group will also be travelling to Orvieto, the site of a 13th Century Eucharistic miracle and Assisi, home of St Francis.

"As we embark on this pilgrimage together, let's open our hearts and minds to new purpose and inspiration. Let us seek what all pilgrims have done through the centuries: an internal journey to an eternal destination!" he said.

Also attending the dinner was Ambassador John McCarthy and his wife Christine as well as former Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, appointed last year by Pope Francis as Secretary for Relations with States, a role popularly known as "foreign minister" for the Vatican.

The pilgrimage will continue in the coming week, culminating in the festive Mass at St Peter's Basilica for the ceremony of the Pallium on 29 June, and concluding with a thanksgiving Mass at Domus Australia the following day.

The town of Orvieto in Italy, home of renowned Eucharistic miracle

Portrait of St Peter wearing the Pallium by Rubens