By Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Archbishops who attended Mass with Pope Francis as he blessed their woolen palliums said they were struck by a sense of unity.
Seeing archbishops from so many different countries showed "how the Lord is working in all these people and all these cultures. It’s just so beautiful to see it come together," said Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney told Catholic News Service that since the pallium "is a sign of the communion between the pope — the bishop of Rome, and the major archdioceses around the world," the Mass and blessing showed "that we are a church of churches, that we have all these areas, regions around the world, but we are all one church united through the ministry of Peter, the pope."
Archbishops Wester and Fisher were among 46 new archbishops representing 34 different countries who came to Rome to concelebrate Mass with the pope in St. Peter’s Basilica on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29. All were named to their archdioceses over the course of the last year.
Every year an official delegation, representing Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, attends the ceremony. This year, side-by-side, Pope Francis and the Orthodox delegate, Metropolitan John of Pergamon, descended the stairs under the main altar to pray before the tomb of St. Peter, while the Sistine Chapel choir and Anglican singers from the Choir of New College Oxford sang "Tu es Petrus" or "You Are Peter."
This gesture and prayer for unity "was very touching for me," said Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago.
In his homily, the pope called on the new archbishops to be courageous, yet humble and charitable witnesses of the faith — teaching, leading and showing the faithful a life rooted in the Gospel and prayer.
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