Canada: Pallium Conferral upon Toronto Archbishop Francis Leo

The Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič conferred the pallium on archbishop Leo, a symbol of his role as Metropolitan Archbishop of Toronto and shepherd to the faithful.

Newsroom (30/09/2023 10:50, Gaudium Press) The Archdiocese of Toronto on the feast day of its patron, St. Michael, September 29, 2023, celebrated at 5:30 p.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica the conferring of the Pallium upon Archbishop Francis Leo. The Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič conferred the pallium on archbishop Leo, a symbol of his role as Metropolitan Archbishop of Toronto and shepherd to the faithful.

The Mass commenced with Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič explaining the symbolism of the Pallium. The pallium is a liturgical vestment worn over the chasuble by the pope and archbishops in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Pallium is bestowed by the pope on archbishops having metropolitan jurisdiction as a symbol of their unity with the Apostolic See. It symbolizes the Good Shepherd carrying on his shoulder the flock entrusted to his ministry. It is a symbol of the shepherd who goes out in search of the lost sheep and carries them home. It also represents the commission given by Christ to Peter (and the bishops) to “Feed my lambs” while also representing the burden of the episcopal office. It promises the consolation offered by Christ “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

The Pallium is made of a circular strip of white lamb’s wool about two inches wide and is placed over the shoulders. The lambs are blessed on the feast of St. Agnes and then sheared. The Pallium is first placed on the tomb of St Peter in Rome where it is blessed by the pope on the feast of St Peter and Paul. Two vertical bands, extending from the circular strip in the front and back, give the pallium a Y-shaped appearance. Six crosses adorn the vestment, one on the chest and back and on each shoulder and band.

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The use of the pallium by Church leaders developed from the secular tradition of emperors and other high officials wearing a special scarf as a badge of office. The pallium was worn by many bishops in the 4th and 5th centuries, and in the 6th century, the pope was conferring it as a symbol of distinction. A bishop can wear it only within his own ecclesiastical province; only the pope can wear the pallium anywhere.

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič then commenced the ceremony of placing the Pallium over the shoulders of Archbishop Leo. Once the Palluim was placed on the kneeling Archbishop Leo the St. Michaels Choir School sang the Gloria in Latin (Missa de Angelis). The readings were from the Book of Daniel (7:9-10,13-14) and Revelation (12:7-12a) while the choir sang Psalm 138. The Gospel was from John (John 1:47-51)

Archbishop Leo then gave a sermon on the Pallium about living in communion with The Pope and the bishops of the church. The Archbishop explained how the pallium is made and blessed and his visit to Rome for the blessing of the Pallium. Archbishop Leo then went on to expound on Christ as the Good Shepherd and the role of the bishop in light of the example of Christ, yet the Bishop too is both sheep as well as shepherd. The Archbishop then once again recommitted himself to being a good shepherd to the flock in the Archdiocese of Toronto both by personal integrity and in the words of Pope Francis “by being close to the sheep on the peripheries caring the smell of the sheep”.

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The prayers of the faithful followed the sermon. The offertory motet was:

There was silence in heaven when the dragon fought with
the Archangel Michael. The voice of thousands of thousands
was heard saying: Salvation, honour and power be to
almighty God. Thousands of thousands ministered to him
and ten hundreds of thousands stood before him. Alleluia.
(Revelation 5:11; 8:1; 12:7, 10)

The choir sang SALVE REGINA CAELITUM for the offertory hymn. The Sanctus was in Latin (Missa de Angelis). Eucharistic Prayer 1, or as it is known the Roman Canon was used for the mass, and the Our Father and the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) was sung in Latin as well.

Following the distribution of holy communion, Gerard Bergie, Bishop of St. Catharines President, Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario addressed Archbishop Leo and assured him of the support of the bishops of Ontario. The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Toronto (Latin: Archidioecesis Metropolitae Torontina) includes the dioceses of Hamilton, London, Saint Catharines, and Thunder Bay, these are suffragan dioceses, Bishop Bergie said that while they are suffragan bishops they will not be suffering bishops to Archbishop Leo.

After the concluding rites, the St. Michael prayer was recited as is the norm across all the diocesan churches at all masses every day. The recessional hymn was Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven (Lauda Anima) followed by an organ postlude and then a reception for all attendees at the lawns of the basilica.

  • Raju Hasmukh

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