.- Corrected June 29, 2011, 9:04 a.m. MDT. Changes list of American archbishops set to receive the pallium.
On the eve of receiving his pallium from Pope Benedict, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said the mission of his archdiocese should be âto bring the mercy of God to the people of our time.â
âWeâre called to be messengers of Godâs love, Godâs mercy, Godâs peace. Thatâs what we have to continue to make the Archdiocese of Los Angeles -- a place where we can witness Godâs love for us and for all his people,â the archbishop told a congregation of Californian pilgrims in St. Peterâs Basilica, June 28.
The pallium is a white woolen liturgical vestment emblazoned with six black crosses. It symbolizes an archbishopâs pastoral authority and his unity the Pope.
More than 40 other new metropolitan archbishops from around the world will receive a pallium from the Pope tomorrow at St. Peterâs.
Among the U.S. bishops will be Archbishops Paul Coakley from Oklahoma City, J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, Gustavo Garcia-Siler of San Antonio, and Archbishop Gomez.
Archbishop Gomez is being joined by 250 fellow pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the U.S. diocese with the most Catholics.
âItâs very special to be able to be here in Rome accompanying the archbishop and the pilgrims of the archdiocese,â Luciane Urban, the Executive Coordinator for the Archbishop, said after todayâs Mass.
âItâs also a great privilege to see all these archbishops from all over the world that are going to be here. Itâs going to be beautiful to see the diversity of the Church and itâs very special.
Los Angeles priest Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik reflected on the significance of the trip to Rome.
âBeing here in Rome is a wonderful opportunity for all of us as Catholics from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to connect with the universal Church and to again express our affiliation with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, especially as our new archbishop receives the pallium," he said.
Archbishop Gomez says he sees tomorrow ceremony as a special moment for both himself and the people of Los Angeles.
âItâs a great honor for me. The pallium, as you know, indicates the unity between the archbishops and the Holy Father. So Iâm looking forward to that. I think itâs a blessing too, and itâs a moment when I feel especially my responsibility as a bishop in the Catholic Church.â
The sentiment is shared by his family, many of whom are in Rome for the occasion.
âWhat could be more important than to come with him - the archbishop - in this very important day for him, because it is very important work that he has been charged with by the Pope - being the Archbishop of Los Angeles,â said his niece Maria Carmen Celaya.
Tomorrowâs ceremony will have a special poignancy for Pope Benedict as it also marks the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.