"A Bond of Love, an Incentive to Courage"
After the names of the 46 new metropolitans in attendance are read aloud in Latin by the senior cardinal-deacon, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the group will make a communal Profession of Faith, after which the Pope says the following:
To the glory of Almighty God and the praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the apostles Peter and Paul, and of the Holy Roman Church, for the honor of the Churches, which have been placed in your care, and as a symbol of your authority as metropolitan archbishop: We confer on you the pallium taken from the tomb of Peter to wear within the limits of your ecclesiastical province.In order of seniority, the archbishops will then approach the pontiff, who slips onto the shoulders of each the band of lambswool signifying their new role.
May this pallium be a symbol of unity
and a sign of your communion with the Apostolic See,
a bond of love, and an incentive to courage.
On the day of the coming and manifestation
of our great God and chief shepherd, Jesus Christ,
may you and the flock entrusted to you
be clothed with immortality and glory.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
This evening, the Pope presided at the traditional First Vespers of Peter and Paul not at their traditional venue of the Vatican, but in the Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls, where he proclaimed the beginning of the "Pauline Year" to begin on this night in 2008.
According to Peter's successor, the observance of the 2,000th anniversary of Paul's birth will have "an important ecumenical dimension":
Inspired by the example of the Apostle to the Nations, the Pauline Year will show “that the action of Church is credible and effective only to the extent that its members are willing to personally pay for their fidelity to Christ in every situation.”
In the Roman basilica dedicated to the Apostle to the Nations, the Pope stressed this afternoon the witness, which united Paul and Peter up to their martyrdom, during the first vespers for the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul.
Planned as part of the celebrations of Saint Paul’s birthday (which historians place between 7 and 10 AD), the Pauline Year—from June 28,2008 till June 29, 2009— will be in the Pope’s words “a series of liturgical, cultural and ecumenical events as well as pastoral and social initiatives inspired by St Paul’s spirituality.”
“There will be conferences and special studies on St Paul’s writings which will improve our understanding of the wealth of learning they contain—a real legacy for humanity redeemed by Christ. Around the world in local dioceses, shrines and places of worship, religious, educational and welfare institutions bearing St Paul’s name or inspired by him and his teachings will be able to organise similar initiatives.”
“Last but not least,” the Pope said, “a special aspect that will need much care at the different stages of the Pauline bimillenary is its ecumenical dimension. Especially involved in bringing the Good News to all the peoples, the Apostle to the Nations did all he could for the unity and harmony of all Christians. May he lead and protect us in this bimillenary celebration, helping us progress in a humble and sincere search for the complete unity of all the parts of the mystical Body of Christ.”...
"This basilica, which has seen many ecumenically charged events,” Benedict XVI noted, “reminds us of how important it is to pray together to plead for the gift of unity, something for which Saint Peter and Saint Paul devoted their entire existence till the ultimate sacrifice of their blood.”
PHOTO 2: AP/Plinio Lepri