Archbishop Gomez: symbolic pallium calls shepherds to give their lives for their flock


San Antonio’s Archbishop Jose Gomez was one of 32 metropolitan archbishops to receive the pallium yesterday from Pope Benedict XVI, symbolizing their unity with the See of Rome, and the yoke placed on the shoulders of those who wear it.Archbishop Gomez was among four U.S. metropolitans to receive the pallium yesterday--a stole, placed around the neck of new archbishops by the pope each year on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Among the U.S. bishops were Atlanta’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Kansas City’s Joseph Naumann, and Joseph Fiorenza, archbishop of the newly-formed Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.In a recent column, Gomez promised to “accept the pallium on my shoulders as a symbol of my calling from the Lord, the high shepherd of the flock, to be a shepherd for the faithful of San Antonio.

Not just any kind shepherd, but a good shepherd, willing to give my life for those who have been entrusted to my ministry.”He added that, “Precisely for this reason the pallium is adorned with three crosses, which symbolize the three nails with which the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross; they show the price paid for our salvation, and thus the price that a good shepherd needs to be willing to pay for the good of his faithful.”

Archbishop Gomez’s devotion to this ministry thus far was evidenced by the throng of supporters who joined him from San Antonio, Denver (where he served as auxiliary bishop before coming to his current assignment), and his native Monterey, Mexico.One of Archbishop Gomez’s four sisters, Alicia Gomez, told the San Antonio Express that, “It’s a great honor for all of us to be in Rome with our brother.

We thank God for this blessing. I was here in 1978 when we traveled to Spain for his priestly ordination. I never thought I’d see him back here as an archbishop.” Steve and Katy Whisenant, long-time friends of Archbishop Gomez and former San Antonians, now living in Bury St. Edmund, England, brought all seven of their children to Rome to witness the ceremony.

“This is an incredible experience,” Steve Whisenant told the Express. “We met Archbishop Gomez in San Antonio in 1987, and he’s such a loving man. Our 8-year-old son, Peter, received First Communion at this Mass, too. It was a very Catholic experience.

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