Archbishop Frank Leo of Toronto stands during the chanting of the creed during Mass with Pope Francis June 29, 2023, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. CNS photo/Lola Gomez

Archbishop Leo receives pallium from Pope Francis

  • June 29, 2023

VATICAN CITY -- Archbishop Francis Leo of Toronto joined 31 other metropolitan archbishops appointed over the past year who received their pallium from Pope Francis after Mass for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul earlier today.

Leo and the other archbishops went to the Chapel of the Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica and, seated before Michelangelo's famous statue of Mary holding her dead son, the Pope handed each archbishop the newly blessed woolen band folded up in a small wooden box.

The pallium is a stole-like, vestment, worn on top of the chasuble of metropolitan archbishops when celebrating Mass. Traditionally, they are made from white wool from two lambs blessed each year by the Holy Father on the feast of St. Agnes (Jan. 21). They are approximately two inches wide and are worn on the shoulders.

Leo was appointed Toronto’s archbishop in February and installed March 25. He succeeded Cardinal Thomas Collins, who accompanied his successor, with a small delegation from the archdiocese, at the ceremony.

In his homily at the feast day Mass, Pope Francis described the pallium as "a sign of communion with the Church of Rome," and he urged the new archbishops to "be apostles like Peter and Paul. Be disciples in following and apostles in preaching."

"Bring the beauty of the Gospel everywhere, together with all the people of God."

The Pope gave the Toronto prelate the box with the pallium on the day before his 52nd birthday.

At a reception afterward, a gathering that included 30 Italian relatives he had not seen in years, Leo said, "The pallium is a powerful symbol of our Church. First, it symbolizes the unity and communion with the successor of Peter, Pope Francis himself.

"Second it symbolizes the mission a bishop has to be a good shepherd according to the heart of Christ," the archbishop said. "We are called to be good shepherds, like Jesus, for the flock."

The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Toronto encompasses the Dioceses of Hamilton, London, St. Catharines and Thunder Bay. Leo will have the pallium formally presented to him by the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, in a Sept. 29 ceremony at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica.

(With files from Register staff.)

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