Canadians among new archbishops receiving pallium

By  Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
  • June 30, 2009
{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Receiving the woolen pallium from the Pope underlines an archbishop's unique ties to the vicar of Christ in Rome and to his own flock of parishioners back home, said a number of archbishops from Canada and the United States and Canada.

Archbishops J. Michael Miller of Vancouver and Pierre-Andre Fournier of Rimouski, Que., were among the 34 bishops from 20 countries who received the white, narrow circular band called a pallium during a special Mass in St. Peter's Basilica June 29.
Miller and Fournier led their pilgrims on a private tour of the Sistine Chapel and shared a brief prayer with them there June 27. Miller told Catholic News Service during the chapel tour that he was travelling with pilgrims from Vancouver and Texas, where he served as president of the University of St. Thomas in Houston from 1997-2004.

Having the faithful accompany a bishop "is wonderful" because it is "a sign of being a shepherd with members of our flock. For them it is a moment when they are linked through their bishops to the pope," he said.

{mosimage}Miller also said that for him the pallium is "a sign that my burden is light — it's not all heaviness. It's also a reminder that as shepherds we need to go where the sheep gather, those who have wandered, those who are not practising their faith. We need to find them and bring them back."

Fournier said it was very meaningful for him to receive his pallium on the same day Pope Benedict was signing his first social encyclical because the symbolism of the pallium "is carrying around my shoulders the sheep, especially the poor."

He said he depends on Christ's love in order to handle the responsibilities of being a bishop.

"You can go through everything if you focus on His love," he said, adding it is Christ who really wears the pallium, carrying His flock and His disciples.

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