Friday, November 27, 2009

New Cycle, New Staff

While everyone's hopefully enjoying the long Thanksgiving weekend, the Pope is about to make his first turn with an early Christmas present.

For tomorrow night's first Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent -- the start of the new liturgical year -- B16 will debut a new pastorale ("pastoral staff") made especially for him, replacing the ferula of Bl Pius IX, which the pontiff has used since Palm Sunday 2008.

First announced in today's L'Osservatore Romano, the New Liturgical Movement breaks the story in English:
As Msgr. Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, tells tomorrow's edition of the [Vatican daily]: "Similar in shape to the ferula of Pius IX so far in use this can be considered to all intents and purposes the pastoral staff of Benedict XVI."...

[T]he new staff is donated to the Pontiff by the Circolo San Pietro, a Roman association founded in 1869 in support of the papacy. It is slightly smaller and lighter than the ferula of Bl. Pius IX.

On the front side of the new ferula is depicted in the centre the Lamb of God, and on the four points of the cross, the symbols of the four Evangelists. The arms of the cross are decorated in a net-like pattern which evokes the fisherman whose successor Pope Benedict is. On the backside there is in the centre the Chi-Rho, the monogram of Christ, and on the four points of the cross, four Fathers of Occident and Orient, Augustine and Ambrose, Athanasius and John Chrysostom, the same who also carry Bernini's cathedra. On the top of the shaft is the coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI.
Likewise earlier today, the UK's Catholic Herald announced that, as expected -- but not, until now, confirmed -- Benedict will break with his pontificate's well-established custom to personally beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman on his visit to Britain next fall.

The papal vespers to kick off the "New Year" will run at 5pm Rome time, 11am Eastern, tomorrow, with EWTN running the livestream.

PHOTO: L'Osservatore Romano