TO THE NEW METROPOLITAN ARCHBISHOPS
WHO HAD RECEIVED THE PALLIUM
ON THE SOLEMNITY OF STS PETER AND PAUL
VI Audience Hall
After yesterday's solemn celebration during which I had the joy of conferring the pallium on the Metropolitan Archbishops appointed during the past year, today's meeting offers me the pleasant opportunity of renewing to all of you my cordial greeting and of prolonging the atmosphere of communion - hierarchical and at the same time family - that we have experienced on this particular occasion. The image of the organic body Paul applied to the Church is one of the strong and characteristic elements his doctrine. Therefore, in this Jubilee Year dedicated to him, I wish to entrust each one of you, dear Archbishops, to his heavenly protection. May the Apostle to the Gentiles help you to make the communities entrusted to you grow, united and missionary, harmonious and coordinated in pastoral activity, enlivened by constant apostolic dynamism.
I would now like to address a cordial greeting to each one of you, dear Metropolitan Archbishops, as well as to your relatives and the figures who have desired to grace this meeting with their presence, as I extend my thoughts and prayers to your particular Churches. I am pleased to be able to begin with the Holy Land and to greet Archbishop Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem for Latins, and those who accompany him. I greet with affection Archbishop Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, Archbishop Paolo Benotto and Archbishop Francesco Montenegro, Metropolitans respectively of Campobasso-Boiano, Pisa and Agrigento. May the Lord always bless you and guide you in your daily pastoral ministry!
I greet with joy the pilgrims who have come from Niger, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from Haiti and from France. You have accompanied the new Metropolitan Archbishops upon whom I am glad to have conferred the pallium, a sign of close communion with the Apostolic See. I extend my special greetings to Archbishop Michel Christian Cartatéguy of Niamey, Niger, to Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap Haïtien, Haiti, to Archbishop Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and to Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Lille, France. Please pass on my greetings to your priests and to all the faithful of your dioceses. Assure them of my fervent prayers. The pallium symbolizes the deep union of their Pastor with the Successor of Peter, as well as the Archbishop's pastoral concern for his people. May the faithful adhere more strongly to Christ in this communion of charity, to bear witness to it with courage and truth.
Your Excellencies, dear friends in Christ, I extend a cordial greeting to the English-speaking Metropolitan Archbishops upon whom I conferred the pallium yesterday: Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya; Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore, U.S.A.; Archbishop Anthony Mancini of Halifax, Canada; Archbishop Martin Currie of Saint John's, Newfoundland, Canada; Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei, Taiwan; Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso of Kaduna, Nigeria; Archbishop Richard Anthony Burke of Benin City, Nigeria; Archbishop Robert Rivas of Castries, Saint Lucia; Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Archbishop Thomas Kwaku Mensah, of Kumasi, Ghana; Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile, U.S.A.; Archbishop Donald Reese of Kingston in Jamaica, Jamaica; Archbishop Peter Kairo of Nyeri, Kenya; Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, U.S.A., and Archbishop John Lee Hiong Fun-Yit Yaw of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
I also welcome the family members and friends of the new Metropolitans, and the faithful from their Archdioceses who have accompanied them to Rome. The pallium is worn by Metropolitan 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 flock. The pallium reminds Bishops that, as vicars of Christ in their local Churches, they are called to be shepherds after the example of Jesus. As a symbol of the burden of the episcopal office, it also reminds the faithful of their duty to support the Church's Pastors by their prayers and to cooperate generously with them for the spread of the Gospel and the growth of Christ's Church in holiness, unity and love. Dear friends: may your pilgrimage to the tombs of Sts Peter and Paul confirm you in the Catholic faith which comes from the Apostles. To all of you I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.
I address a joyful "Grüß Gott" to all of you who have come here from my Diocese of Munich and Freising to accompany the new Pastor, Archbishop Reinhard Marx, to Rome for the conferral of the pallium. I also warmly greet the guests of Archbishop Willem Jacobus Eijk of Utrecht. Yesterday I conferred upon your Pastors the pallium which indicates to us the Good Shepherd who carries the lost sheep on his shoulders and lays down his life for his sheep. The Lord called the Apostles to follow him in love. Three times the Risen Christ asked Peter if he loved him and three times he repeated to him his task of tending the Lord's sheep. Thus, today too, Pastors must be pervaded by the desire to guarantee unity with the Lord and with his flock. May you support your Archbishops in their service, in harmony and with prayer. May the true God be with you with his grace!
I address with affection the Spanish-speaking Metropolitan Archbishops: Archbishop Pérez González of Pamplona y Tudela, Archbishop Lorenzo Voltolini Esti of Portoviejo, Archbishop Andrés Stanovnik of Corrientes, Archbishop Óscar Urbina Ortega of Villavicencio, Archbishop Antonio José López Castillo of Barquisimeto, who came to Rome for the solemn ceremony for the conferral of the pallium, accompanied by relatives, friends and representatives of their respective particular Churches. Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, may the pallium, a liturgical adornment of venerable tradition woven of white wool always remind you of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, and, at the same time, of the Lamb sacrificed for our salvation. Faithful to your ministry, seek at all times to foster communion among the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province over which you preside, and with the Bishop of Rome. I encourage all those who have wished to accompany you on this beautiful occasion never to forget you in their prayers, so that you may continue to guide the flock that has been entrusted to your pastoral care with ardent charity, so that Christ, for whom the holy Apostles Peter and Paul shed their blood may be ever better known, loved and imitated. I ask the Virgin Mary who is invoked with such great fervour in your countries - Spain, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, to protect and support with her motherly love your suffragan Bishops, your priests, your religious communities and your diocesan faithful. With these sentiments, I cordially impart to you the Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of abundant heavenly favours.
I greet with fraternal esteem the Portuguese-speaking Metropolitan Archbishops who received the
pallium yesterday: Archbishop Mauro Aparecido dos Santos of Cascavel; Archbishop Luís Gonzaga Silva Pepeu of Vitória da Conquista; and Archbishop José Francisco Sanches Alves of Évora. Esteemed Brothers, may you always care for the flock of Christ entrusted to you, seeking to reinforce increasingly your bonds of communion with the Successor of Peter and among your suffragan dioceses. And you, dear friends who have accompanied them, continue to follow their teachings with docility, cooperating with them generously for the realization of the Kingdom of God.
I greet the Polish pilgrims. In a special way I greet the new Metropolitan of Gdansk, Archbishop Leszek Sławoj Głódz, who received the pallium yesterday, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. I greet all those who have accompanied him on this solemn occasion, particularly his loved ones and the faithful of the Metropolis of Gdansk. I hope that the Pauline Year that has just begun will strengthen your faith and your bond with the Church and with her Pastors. In my prayers, Your Excellency, I entrust your pastoral service to God. I cordially bless all the pilgrims present here. Jesus Christ be praised!
I greet with affection Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Mother of God in Moscow. I thank the Authorities present and assure them of my special prayers.
I address my cordial greeting to Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mohilev and to all who have come with him and my best wishes for his ministry.
I cordially greet the pilgrims who have come from Slovakia to accompany the new Metropolitan Archbishops: Archbishop Stanislav of Bratislava and Archbishop Ján of Presov. Brothers and sisters, the pallium that these Prelates received yesterday is a sign of union with the Bishop of Rome. I bless you and your families with affection. Praised be Jesus Christ!
I address a cordial greeting to Archbishop Marin Srakic, the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Djakovo-Osijek, his relatives and his guests who have come to Rome from the ever faithful Croatia. The pallium is a sign of the special bond of Pastors of the Church with the Successor of Peter. While I express the hope that the Lord will guide and protect you, venerable Brother, and the community of the faithful of beloved Slavonia, I impart a special Blessing to everyone. Praised be Jesus and Mary!
Dear friends, let us thank God who does not cease to guarantee Pastors to his Church, to lead her firmly on the earthly pilgrimage. Let us always remember that for every Pastor the condition of his service is love for Christ, which must always come first. "Simon, son of John, do you love me?". May Jesus' question to Peter always resound in our hearts, dear Brothers, and prompt our response, new and heartfelt every time: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you". It is from this love for Christ that derives the mission: "tend my sheep" (Jn 21: 16, 17), a mission which is summed up first of all in witnessing to him, the Teacher and Lord: "Follow me" (Jn 21: 19). May this be our joy while it is certainly our cross: sweet and light, because it is a cross of love. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Hope always watch over and support you and may you be accompanied by my Apostolic Blessing which I cordially renew to each one of you, to your loved ones and to all those who are entrusted to your ministry.
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