"It's always a very moving moment to be with the Holy Father, to feel the connection with bishops from around the world and to deepen what it means to be a bishop," he told CNA.
He explained that out of all the vestments he has to wear, his favorite is the pallium, which is a stole made from white wool and adorned with six black silk crosses. The wearing of the pallium by the Pope and metropolitan archbishops symbolizes authority as well as unity with the Holy See.
One significant thing about the pallium, Cardinal Tobin said, is the symbolism found in how it is worn: around the shoulders.
It shows "the obligation of the bishop to look for the one who's lost, and carry that one back on his shoulders. So that's why when I put it on my shoulders, I remember that," he said.
It is traditional for the Pope to bestow the stole on new archbishops June 29 each year. The rite is a sign of communion with the See of Peter. It also serves as a symbol of the metropolitan archbishop's jurisdiction in his own diocese as well as the other dioceses within his ecclesiastical province.
However, as a sign of "synodality" with local Churches, Pope Francis decided in 2015 that new metropolitan archbishops will officially be imposed with the pallium in their home diocese, rather than the Vatican.
So while the new archbishops still journey to Rome to receive the pallium during the liturgy with the Pope, the official imposition ceremony is in their home diocese, allowing more faithful and bishops in dioceses under the archbishop's jurisdiction to attend the event.
Archbishop Thompson, whose installation as Archbishop of Indianapolis will be held July 28, has the unique privilege of being imposed with the pallium at the same Mass as his installation, which he said will be "a great symbol."
Archbishop Etienne was installed as Archbishop of Anchorage on Nov. 9, 2016, so he's had a few months to begin settling in. "The people in Alaska count winters, so I've been in Anchorage one winter now," he laughed.
Though the weather is cold, the people there are warm, he said, noting that they have all been grateful he accepted the appointment, since it isn't easy to live in Alaska.
"It's a very diverse Church," he explained, but the people have been wonderful, "helping me to understand their ways and to embrace that new territory and all the people that are a part of it."
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Both Archbishop Etienne and Archbishop Thompson said that learning about their new appointments came as quite a surprise.
"It's a shock anytime you get one of those phone calls," Archbishop Etienne said.
Moving to Anchorage was not something he expected, but "after a prayerful night, it became clear that if this is where Mother Church has asked me to go and where the Lord is leading, I promised him years ago I would follow. So Alaska's my home now."
Archbishop Thompson, who only received his appointment June 3, said the last few weeks have been "a whirlwind," especially having to plan so quickly for a trip to Rome.
When he received the phone call, he had just returned home from saying an ordination Mass for new priests in his diocese, Evansville. In his homily that day, he said he had preached about missionary discipleship and how one cannot be comfortable or complacent in an assignment, but must be prepared to go out to the people, since it's the Lord who calls us and sends us.
"So when I got this phone call, I got off the phone and thought, 'Who was I preaching to this morning?'"