Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

You Bear Witness to Communion with Peter

by Pope Saint John Paul II


Holy Father's Address on June 30, 1998, as he welcomed the Metropolitan Archbishops who had received the pallium on the previous day.

Larger Work

L'Osservatore Romano



Publisher & Date

Vatican, July 22, 1998

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Yesterday, on the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, in accordance with a significant tradition, I had the joy of conferring the pallium on you, dear Metropolitan Archbishops, who were appointed during the last year. Today, with a glad and grateful heart, I welcome you with your relatives and the faithful who have accompanied you to Rome for this happy occasion. I extend a cordial welcome to everyone and a special greeting to the new Italian Metropolitans, Archbishop Gennaro Franceschetti of Fermo and Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari of Aquila.

As you know well, thepallium is a papal liturgical symbol, which, since the ninth century, Metropolitan Archbishops have requested from the Bishop of Rome as a sign of unity and full communion with the See of Peter's Successor. Woven each year from the wool of two white lambs blessed on the memorial of St Agnes, the pallia are kept in a special casket near Peter's tomb, beneath the altar of the Confessio, and are then conferred on the new Metropolitans on the Apostle's feast-day.

2. I rejoice with you, dear faithful, at today's meeting, because it provides this most ancient tradition with a very fitting ecclesial setting which highlights its value and meaning. You come from various countries of the world and your prayerful and festive presence with your respective Pastors makes even more eloquent the sign of the conferral of the pallium, which in itself expresses catholic unity cum Petro et sub Petro. I therefore express to you, dear brothers and sisters, the pleasure your pilgrimage gives me. I hope that it will produce abundant fruits of faith and Gospel life in each of you, in your families and in your ecclesial communities.

I extend a cordial welcome to Metropolitan Archbishop Josip Bozanic of Zagreb and the faithful who have accompanied him. May your witness to communion with the Successor of Peter contribute to a new flourishing of the faith in your homeland.

I warmly greet Archbishop Gyula Márfi and the priests and faithful of the Archdiocese of Veszprém present here. May today's celebration strengthen your unity with the See of St Peter.

I am pleased to greet the new African Archbishops, Archbishop Nestor Assogba of Parakou, Benin, Archbishop Basile Mvé Engone of Libreville, Gabon, and Archbishop Floribert Songasonga Mwitwa of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Mân of Hô Chi Minh City, Viêt Nam. Upon each of them and upon their loved ones and the members of their Dioceses, I invoke the abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit in this year which is especially dedicated to him.

With affection in the Lord, I greet all of you who have come from Zimbabwe with Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, bearing with you the many hopes and sorrows of Africa. Others of you have come from the United States of America, with Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland in Oregon and Archbishop Alexander Brunett of Seattle. I welcome you all, and urge you to stay close to your Bishops in the bond of faith. And with the memory of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia still fresh in my mind, I greet those of you who have come from India with Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara of Nagpur, from Myanmar with Archbishop Matthias U Shwe of Taunggyi, and from the Philippines with Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato. All Asian Christians are called to work to ensure that the Gospel of Christ takes ever deeper root in the cultures of your continent, to which the human spirit owes so much. May God bless you all.

I would like to address a cordial greeting to Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga of Tunja, Colombia, to Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and to Archbishop Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa of Santiago, Chile, as well as to the priests and faithful of their respective particular Churches and the relatives and friends who have accompanied them for the reception of the pallium which distinguishes them as Metropolitans of their respective Ecclesiastical Provinces.

I ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother in heaven and the Star of the New Evangelization, to protect their ministry in this new responsibility which the Church has entrusted to them and to encourage the priests and religious communities of their particular Churches, in order to increase in them vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life and to strengthen the faith of their faithful. Please convey my affectionate greeting to them all, together with the cordial Apostolic Blessing which I now impart to you.

I affectionately greet Archbishop Angelo Massafra of Shkodrë, Albania, and the faithful who are accompanying him, with the hope that this witness of communion with the See of Peter will help to strengthen the Christian faith in their homeland.

I also invoke an abundance of the Holy Spirit's light upon Archbishop Cláudio Hummes, who will have an immense flock to shepherd in a city overflowing with pastoral vitality and many pastoral challenges. I therefore greet with special affection the new Archbishop of São Paulo, all his relatives and the pilgrims who are united with him in prayer, so that God may enlighten and protect him on this new path in the service of the Church in Brazil.

Dear brothers and sisters, I entrust you to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Church, as I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all and to the communities you come from, and renew my kiss of peace to the Metropolitan Archbishops, your zealous Pastors.

© L'Osservatore Romano, Editorial and Management Offices, Via del Pellegrino, 00120, Vatican City, Europe, Telephone 39/6/698.99.390.


This item 457 digitally provided courtesy of