By Frank Flegel

Monday, November 27, 2017, was a normal work day, yet Holy Rosary Cathedral was almost full of the faithful who came to witness the Papal Nuncio to Canada invest Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen with the Pallium. As Apostolic Nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi is a representative of Pope Francis, an ambassador, located in Ottawa and is a living reminder of the universality of the Catholic Church.  

The Pallium the Nuncio was here to present a liturgical vestment symbolizing the authority of Donald Bolen as Archbishop and as Metropolitan of Saskatchewan. It is also a symbol of personal loyalty to the Pope and thereby a sign of unity between a local Church and the universal Church, according to an explanation in the investiture program.  The Pallium is woven from lamb’s wool and is often described as a symbol of the Archbishop as the shepherd of his flock.

His Excellency Bonazzi conducted the introductory Rites to open the service and gave a brief explanation of what the Pallium symbolizes.   Archbishop Bolen knelt in front of the stairs leading to the Sanctuary. Archbishop Bonazzi and, reciting a special prayer, placed the Pallium over the shoulders of Archbishop Bolen. Robert Bellegarde, a Cree elder of the File Hills Tribal Council, performed a smudging ceremony immediately after the investiture and gifted the Nuncio with a beaded cross, which the Nuncio immediately placed around his neck. Liturgy of the Word then took place with several people reciting the readings in languages representing the diversity of people who reside in the Archdiocese. That was followed by the celebration of the Mass with Archbishop Bolen as the presider and homilist. 

Archbishop Bolen began his homily by holding up an icon of Christ the Good Shepherd, a gift from Eparch of Saskatchewan Bishop Bryan Bayda. Bolen said it was good to see the Pallium as a sign to shepherd as Jesus did; then he reflected on gospel readings of the day, and the day previous, in which Christ described Himself as a shepherd who will look after his sheep, “All Christian ministry flows from this, including ministry symbolized by the Pallium,” said Bolen. He continued, “But it’s not about the ministry of the Metropolitan in isolation; we include everyone, bishops, clergy, members of religious communities and everyone sharing in the ministry. Each of us in a distinct way is called upon to share Christ’s ministry. So, we are in this together.” He then reflected on Jesus’ ministry as described in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew in which Christ told His disciples to preach the Gospel and to heal the sick; the wounded. He quoted Pope Francis who, shortly after being elected, said in an interview that “the Church needs to heal wounds and warm the hearts of the faithful and suggested the Church should be like a field hospital after battle. The wounds have to first be healed and then we can talk about everything else,”  Pope Francis said in that interview.  

Archbishop Bolen said he understands that preaching the Gospel is at the heart of what he is called to do, “but the Pallium, I think, is a reminder that above all of that is a second aspect of discipleship - healing the wounds,” and he repeated, “healing the wounds.”

The Pallium is woven of wool from two lambs representing Christ, the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd. An elaborate process is followed in creating the Pallium, from selecting the animals from which their wool will be taken and woven to eventually rest on the shoulders of the Pope, archbishops and patriarchs. The animals are chosen by the Pope from a flock raised at the Convent of St. Agnes in Rome then sent to the Benedictine Sisters of St. Cecilia in Trastevere, a municipal district of Rome, where they are cared for and shorn of their wool for weaving.

Once completed, the Pallia are placed on the tomb of St. Peter on the evening of June 29, the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul contracting a sharing of authority, as it were, (again, according to information in the investiture program). The next day they are laid on the High Altar of St. Peter’s Basilica where they are blessed by the Pope who places one Pallium on his own shoulders. They are then placed in a silver urn, enclosed in a cabinet, and placed under the altar of Crucifixion over the traditional tomb of St. Peter until they are taken out for an investiture. 

After the investiture of Archbishop Donald Bolen, the congregation was invited to attend a reception in the gymnasium of Holy Rosary School, directly behind Holy Rosary Cathedral.

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