Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston will receive the pallium from Pope John Paul II at the Vatican tomorrow but with regard for his archdiocese and the financial difficulties it is experiencing, he has decided not to hold any celebrations.
In a ceremony that officially recognizes the authority of Catholic archbishops, 44 archbishops will receive the pallium, a white wool stole, from the Pope tomorrow.
The white garments are blessed by the Pope and stored in a casket at the crypt of St. Peter the night before the archbishops receive them.
The pallium dates back to the fourth century, making it one of the oldest and most significant forms of Catholic vestment. Many recipients are buried wearing it.
"Archbishop Sean is honored to receive the pallium from the Holy Father, but he understands that the pallium is not so much a badge of honor and authority as it is a call to service to the Church of Boston," archdiocesan spokesman Fr. Christopher Coyne told the Boston Sunday Globe.
About 75 relatives and friends of the archbishop will travel to Rome for the Pallium Mass on their own; the archbishop plans to celebrate a mass for the group on Friday. Although many new archbishops mark the occasion with large delegations and parties, Coyne said, Archbishop O'Malley will not host any receptions.
"With all that's going on in the archdiocese … the archbishop thought it would be inappropriate to be spending money on something like that," Coyne told the Globe.
In almost one year in Boston, Archbishop O'Malley has settled 541 sexual abuse claims for $85 million, has sold historic Church lands and archbishop’s residence to Boston College for $107 million, and has decided to close 65 parishes.