Please remember in your prayers our Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, who will receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Various representatives of the Archdiocese are present in Rome with him for the pallium ceremony.
The pallium is a band of fabric about two inches wide, made of white lamb’s wool, that circles the neck and hangs down in the front and back. It is worn over the chasuble during Mass. “The pallium signifies the power which the metropolitan, in communion with the Roman Church, has by law in his own province” (canon 437).
On the Feast of Saint Agnes in February each year, two lambs are blessed by the Pope, and the wool from these lambs are made by a group of nuns into the pallium, which is presented on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul to all those who have become Metropolitan Archbishops in the previous year.
Regions of the Church are broken up into ecclesiastical provinces. Each province has a Metropolitan Archbishop, and then there are one or more suffragan sees/dioceses in the province. Canon Law ascribes to the bishops of an ecclesiastical province certain responsibilities, e.g. every three years they are to compose a list of priests suitable for the office of bishop and send the list to the Apostolic See (c. 377), and to determine the offering to be given for the celebration and application of Mass (c. 952). Canon 436 outlines the competencies of a Metropolitan Archbishop in his province. The pallium may only be worn within the territory of the Metroplitan’s province.
Being made of lamb’s wool, I like to think of the pallium – which is worn over the shoulders – as a reminder that the Metropolitan Archbishop is to act like Christ the Good Shepherd, who cares for the flock, even carrying the sheep back to the safety of the pasture.