ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Paul VI Audience Hall
Today's meeting is like an echo of the solemn celebration that took place yesterday in the Vatican Basilica, during which I had the joy of conferring the Pallium upon the Metropolitan Archbishop here with their relatives, friends and a numerous representation of their diocesan communities.
The different places they come from illustrate the catholic character of the Church: the faithful of the various particular Churches who have arrived from every part of the earth feel united with the See of Peter by a special bond of communion that is also clearly expressed by the liturgical symbol of the Pallium worn by their Metropolitans.
I greet each one of you with affection, venerable and dear Brothers, and together with you I greet the members of your faithful who have come on pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostles.
An affectionate greeting to you in the first place, venerable and dear Pastors of the Church in Italy! I greet you, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, who is now called, after various years of direct service to the Holy See, to be Pastor of the distinguished Archdiocese of Naples; to you, Archbishop Tommaso Valentinetti of Pescara-Penne; to you, Archbishop Luigi Conti of Fermo; to you, Archbishop Ignazio Sanna of Oristano; to you, Archbishop Andrea Mugione of Benevento. May the Lord Jesus, the One who chose you as Pastors of his flock, sustain you in your daily service and with the power of the Holy Spirit make you faithful heralds of the Gospel.
I warmly greet the pilgrims who have come from France and Africa to accompany the new Metropolitan Archbishops upon whom I have had the joy of conferring the Pallium, a sign of very special communion with the See of Peter. My greetings go to Archbishop Odon Razanakolona of Antananarivo, Madagascar, to Archbishop Cornelius Esua of Bamenda, Cameroon, to Archbishop François Xavier Maroy Rusengo of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, and to Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseilles, France. Through you I carry in prayer all the faithful of your Dioceses and your countries.
Since I feel very specially close to Africa at this time, I ask the Lord to help the countries there to advance on the path of peace and the road of development of individuals and peoples. May you each day become ever better witnesses of Christ, concerned to proclaim the Gospel to your brethren and to help them to love our Father in Heaven more and more.
The Pallium is worn by Archbishops as a symbol of their hierarchical communion with the Successor of Peter in the governance of God's People. It is made of sheepswool as a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and the Good Shepherd who keeps vigilant watch over his beloved flock. This vestment reminds Bishops, as vicars of Christ in their local Churches, that they are called to be shepherds after the Heart of Jesus. To all of you I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.
I greet with affection the Spanish-speaking Archbishops and those who have accompanied them at the important ceremony of the imposition of the Pallium, which distinguishes them and demonstrates their role as Metropolitans. I am referring to Archbishops Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino of Caracas; Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal of Cartagena; Fabriciano Sigampa of Resistencia and José Luis Mollaghan of Rosario.
Dear members of the faithful who have accompanied them, I ask you to continue to be close to them with prayer and generous collaboration, constant and loyal, so that they may carry out their mission in accordance with God's plans. I ask the Most Holy Virgin Mary, so deeply venerated in your countries - Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina - to inspire the Archbishops' ministry and to accompany with tenderness the priests, religious communities and faithful of your Archdioceses.
Take back to everyone my affectionate greeting, together with the Apostolic Blessing that I now warmly impart to you.
The Church in Brazil is rejoicing today because the Archiepiscopal Sees of São Luís do Maranhão, Ribeirão Preto and Londrina are celebrating the imposition of the Pallium on their new Archbishops: José Belisário da Silva, Joviano de Lima Júnior and Orlando Brandes, who are accompanied today by their priests, their faithful and their relatives.
I would therefore like to greet your particular Churches with affection and express the hope that this important celebration will help to strengthen their unity and communion with the Apostolic See, and to encourage the generous pastoral dedication of their Bishops for the growth of the Church and the salvation of souls.
I cordially impart my Blessing to all the pilgrims present here who have accompanied the new Metropolitan. Praised be Jesus Christ!
I address a cordial greeting to Archbishop Franc Kramberger of Maribor, upon whom I conferred the Pallium yesterday. Dear Brother in the Episcopate, may the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, great servants of the Church's unity, be a model in your work for the good of the People of God which has been entrusted to you.
I also greet all the Slovenians, your compatriots, who have accompanied you today. I warmly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all.
Dear brothers and sisters, this meeting of ours also sheds light on how the Lord continues to care for his people, not allowing them to lack Pastors and reliable guides.
As we thank him, we cannot but be aware that each one of us, according to his or her own vocation, is called to work diligently in the Lord's vineyard so that all may be living members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church. Indeed, we are "like living stones built into a spiritual house", the Apostle Peter recalls, "to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (I Pt 2: 5).
May Mary, Mother of God, intercede for us and help us to be ever faithful to our mission. I assure you and the diocesan communities from which you come of my daily remembrance in prayer, as I willingly impart to you my Blessing.
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