In a letter sent to all the apostolic nunciatures and dated 12 January, 2015, the Master of Papal Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, made public the Pope's decision to modify the method of imposing the pallium on the new metropolitan archbishops. The strip of white wool, symbolising the sheep on the shoulders of Jesus the Good Shepherd, will be delivered and no longer “imposed” by the Holy Father, according to tradition on 29 June, Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Instead the imposition of the pallium upon the new archbishops will take place in their dioceses, by the hand of the local apostolic nuncios.
Yesterday, in an interview for Vatican Radio, Msgr. Marini explained the meaning of the Pontiff's decision, indicating that from next 29 June the archbishops, “as is customary, will be present in Rome, will concelebrate with the Holy Father and will participate in the blessing of the pallia, but the imposition will not take place. Each archbishop will receive his pallium from the Holy Father in a simple and private way. The imposition will occur in the diocese of origin, and therefore in a second moment, in the presence of the local Church and in particular the bishops of the suffragan dioceses, accompanied by their faithful”.
This is intended, continued the Master of Papal Ceremonies, to “emphasise the relationship between the newly appointed metropolitan archbishops and their local Church, therefore enabling more faithful to be present and this rite that is so important for them, and especially for the bishops of the suffragan dioceses, which in this way will be able to participate in the moment of the imposition. This maintains the significance of the celebration on 29 June, which underlines the relationship of communion, including the hierarchical communion between the Holy Father and the new archbishops, but at the same time adds, with a meaningful gesture, the bond with the local Church. … It is a beautiful gesture which accompanies the other [the imposition of the pallium, Ed.], which remains with all its entirety and depth”.