ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II
30 June 1997
Dear Archbishops George and Chaput,
It gives me great pleasure to meet all of you on the occasion of the conferring of the Pallium. As is well known, the ancient tradition is that the Pallium be woven from the wool of lambs blessed each year on the Feast of Saint Agnes. The lambs symbolize Christ, the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd. As the sacrificial Lamb, he gave himself completely on the Cross for our salvation. As Shepherd he leads the flock to safe pastures and goes after the sheep which have strayed. The Pallium therefore, as well as being a sign of jurisdictional power in the Church, has a profound spiritual meaning for the Metropolitans concerned, and for the communities of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Archdiocese of Denver.
The Second Vatican Council teaches that every Bishop is "sent by the Father to govern his family... by his prayer, preaching and all the works of charity" (Lumen Gentium, 27). Dear Friends, I am certain that you will continue to support your Archbishops with your prayers and your cooperation. I hope that your celebration of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome will help to increase your love of the Church, for which these Apostles willingly gave their lives as witnesses to Christ. I ask you to take my greetings to your families, your parishes and your communities. Upon all of you I invoke an abundance of divine favors, and I impart my Apostolic Blessing.