(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis marked the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul with Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, during which he imposed the pallium on thirty-four of the metropolitan archbishops installed over the past year. The pallium is the white, shawl-like woolen liturgical vestment worn over the shoulders of a metropolitan archbishop, which is the peculiar sign of a metropolitan’s office: it specifically symbolizes authority and union with the Holy See. Each year on the feast, the Metropolitan archbishops installed during the course of the preceding year travel to Rome to receive the vestment. The solemnity is also one of the two days in the liturgical year in which the ancient bronze statue of St Peter in the basilica is symbolically vested in an ornate red silk cope and crowned with the triple tiara.
After processing into the basilica with the thirty-four new metropolitans and hearing the readings, Pope Francis delivered a homily in which he focused on the mystery of the Petrine ministry as one particularly ordered to confirming all Christians everywhere in faith, love and unity. “Faith in Christ,” said Pope Francis, “is the light of our life as Christians.“ Addressing himself to the new metropolitans, the Pope said, “To confess the Lord by letting oneself be taught by God; to be consumed by love for Christ and his Gospel; to be servants of unity. These, dear brother bishops, are the tasks which the holy apostles Peter and Paul entrust to each of us, so that they can be lived by every Christian.”
This was a theme to which the Holy Father returned after Mass, in remarks to the faithful gathered in St Peter's square for the Angelus prayer. “What a joy it is to believe in a God who is all Love, all Grace,” he said. Also at the Angelus, Pope Francis also greeted the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, led by Metropolitan Ioannis Zizoulas. “Let us not forget that Peter had a brother, Andrew,” said Pope Francis, “who met Jesus first, spoke of Him to Peter and took Peter to meet [the Lord].”
Then Pope Francis asked all the gathered faithful to join him in praying a Hail Mary for Patriarch Bartholomew.
In conclusion, the Holy Father greeted all the pilgrim faithful who, from every part of the world, were come to celebrate the feast in Rome.