Imposition of the Pallium
And Conferral of the Fisherman's Ring
For the Inauguration of the
St. Peter's Square, 24 April 2005
The Eucharistic celebration, with which the elected Pope officially begins his ministry, underlines in particular the Petrine dimension of the Pastors of the Catholic Church. It it becoming, therefore, to point out the specific importance that the popes habitually assume the episcopal emblems: the Pallium and the Ring.
The bond with the Apostle Peter and his martyrdom, that has seeded the birth of the Church of Rome, ultimately points to those places in which they conduct the celebrations, first of all the Confession of St. Peter in the Vatican Basilica.
In the solemn Eucharistic Liturgy in which are imposed the two Petrine emblems, the texts and the signs explain the reference to Christ, cornerstone of the Church (cf. Eph. 2:20), and to Peter, by him called to be the "foundation stone" (Mt. 16:18).
The stop of the Pope at the Apostolic Confession of the Basilica underlines the strict bond of the Bishop of Rome to the Apostle Peter and to his martyrdom. It is supremely evocative of the martyrdom of Peter, in a day so solemn, that they convene in the same place where he confessed his faith with his blood, together with the other Christians that with him have given the same testimony.
From the Loggia of the Vatican Basilica hangs a tapestry of the miraculous catch of fish (John 21:1-8), in which is portrayed the dialogue of Jesus and Peter, to which the rite specifically refers, both in the Liturgy of the Word and in the Eucharistic texts.
The Pope, the Cardinals, and the deacons, in white vestments, process to the Piazza, stopping first at the Confessio of St. Peter.
Stop before the Trophaeum of St. Peter
The Pope, together with the Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, descend to the sepulcher of St. Peter and incense the "Trophy" (i.e. the reliquary containing the apostles bones).
Two deacons take the capsule containing the pallium and ring and carry them in the procession, laying them on the altar of celebration.
The procession then proceeds to the Piazza and the altar.
Introit Chant: Laudes Regiae
Penitential Rite, Gloria.
Collect: O God, who in the designs of Your Wisdom has built Your Church on the Rock of Peter, head of the apostolic college, watch over me, Your servant, with love: You who have chosen me as successor of St. Peter, make that I render visibly to Your people the principle and foundation of unity in the faith and of communion in the love of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. He is God and lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, from ages to ages. Amen.
1st Reading: Acts 4:8-12
2nd reading: 1 Peter 5:1-5, 10-11
Gospel Acclamation: John 21:3
Gospel: John 21:15-19 [Latin, then Greek]
Imposition of the Pallium and Conferral of the Ring
The two Deacons, accompanied by acolytes, retrieve the Pallium and Ring and bear it to the chair of the Pope, who is seated. Standing there are the 3 heads of the Orders of Cardinals. Everyone remains standing.
The Proto-Deacon of the College makes a proclamation, after which he imposes the Pallium over the shoulders of the Holy Father, while the Schola sings Ps. 67:29.
The senior of the Cardinal Priests then leads the prayer.
The Dean of the College (Cardinal Sodano, the vice-dean under the former Dean, Joseph Ratzinger), addresses the Pope, after which he confers the Fisherman's Ring, while the Schola sings Ps. 67:29.
The Pontiff then rises, and then silently blesses all those present with the Book of the Gospel. The Scola sings in Greek, May you live long, Holy Father.
A representative of the cardinals, the bishops, the presbyterate, the deacons, religious, married, confirmed youngsters, from various parts of the world, render obedience to the Holy Father, while the Schola sings Tu es Petrus (Thou art Peter).
The Homily of the Holy Father follows.
General Intercessions: in German, French, Arabic, Chinese and Portuguese.
The Mass continues as usual with the Communion Rite and Dismissal.
(Summarized from the Mass Booklet of the Inaugural Mass)