KUCHING – Archbishop Joseph Marino, apostolic nuncio to Malaysia, imposed the pallium on Archbishop Simon Poh at St Joseph’s Cathedral here on 18 July 2017.
To many lay faithful, if not all, this was the first time to witness such an occasion as it has never been done before in the archdiocese.
Earlier, Abp Poh has received the pallium from Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basilica Vatican City on 29 June, Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, together with 36 new metropolitan archbishops from around the world.
However, since 2015, the investiture of the pallium is to be done at the new archbishop’s home diocese by the apostolic nuncio.
“I received from the Holy See the mandate to impose on Archbishop Simon the pallium which he brought from Rome,” the apostolic nuncio explained before the Mass for the Investiture of the Pallium.
The nuncio said it was the pope’s explicit desire that while he would give the pallia to the archbishops, it would be imposed on them his representative in a ceremony at the cathedral so as to give honour to the local Church.
Addressing Abp Poh, the nuncio reminded him of the words of Pope Francis:
Dear Archbishops who today receive the pallium, it is a sign which represents the sheep that the shepherd carries on his shoulders as Christ the Good Shepherd does, and it is therefore a symbol of your pastoral mission. The pallium is a liturgical sign of communion that unites the See of Peter and his Successor to the Metropolitans, and through them to the other bishops of the world.”
Abp Poh then knelt before the apostolic nuncio as he made the Profession of Faith, following which Abp Marino placed the pallium on the shoulders of Abp Poh.
Returning to his seat with the pallium, Abp Poh led the congregation in singing the Gloria.
In his homily, the Kuching prelate explained the significance of the pallium. The pallium is woven from the wool of two lambs blessed by the Pope on the Feast of St Agnes. Once these pallia are made, they are placed below the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the first pope, and are taken from there on the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul to the Pope for him to bless and distribute to the newly appointed metropolitan archbishops.
When worn, the pallium also signifies the archbishop’s role, who like Christ, carries the sheep on his shoulders. It serves to remind the wearer that all power and authority come from Jesus, the Lamb of God. It also signifies the communion between the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope, with the metropolitan archbishops and the bishops throughout the world.
Abp Poh acknowledged with gratitude the foundations laid by his predecessors, Archbishop Emeriti Peter Chung and John Ha, and pledged to continue to build up the good works begun by them.
The prelate also requested the faithful to continually pray for him to be a good shepherd after the heart of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
Over 2000 parishioners, including Abp Poh’s family and friends, witnessed the ceremony.
Concelebrating with him at the Mass were more than 40 priests, six arch/bishops and Cardinal Soter Fernandez who was making his first official visit there as a cardinal.
A thanksgiving dinner was held on July 19 on the theme Celebrating God’s Steadfast Love.
Also present at the event was Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Malaysia Ambassador to the Holy See. – Today’s Catholic