Metropolitan archbishops will no longer receive the pallium at a formal ceremony in Rome following a decision by Pope Francis.
The Pope has decided that each newly-appointed metropolitan archbishops should be formally vested at a cermony held in their own archdiocese, by the Apostolic Nuncio, replacing the tradition of the pontiff presenting the pallium on the Feast of St Peter and St Paul in Rome.
Mgr Guido Marini, the master of liturgical cermonies, wrote in a letter to new archbishops that Pope Francis thought this new initiative would “greatly favour the participation of the local Church.”
Despite this change, Pope Francis has still invited each new archbishop to join him in Rome on June 29 this year to concelebrate at Mass on the Feast of St Peter and St Paul.
The Pope will also bless each pallium, and present the vestment to the archbishops who are present, privately after the Mass.
The wearing of the pallium dates back to the fourth century predating the miter and the crosier as episcopal symbols. The pallium is a white woolen strip, worn around the neck, which symbolises the bond between an archbishop and his Pope.
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool said the Vatican’s decision to stop hosting the pallium ceremony “makes sense”.
Archbishop McMahon, who received the pallium at the Vatican in June 2014, said: “Pope Francis has said that he doesn’t want ‘airport bishops’; he places a great emphasis on the local church. It makes sense to have a celebration in the Archdiocese with the people, rather than a selected few flying to the ceremony in Rome.”