The modern Pallium is a circular band about two inches wide, worn about the neck, breast, and shoulders, and having two pendants, one hanging down in front and one behind. The use of the Pallium is reserved to the pope and archbishops, but the latter may not use it until, on petition they have received the permission of the Holy See. Bishops sometimes receive the Pallium as a mark of special favour, but it does not increase their powers or jurisdiction nor give them precedence.
Each year on the 21st of January, the feast of St. Agnes, the pope blesses two lambs raised by Trappist monks outside Rome. Benedictine nuns at the Monastery of St. Cecilia in Rome use wool from the blessed lambs to make the Palliums. The new palliums are solemnly blessed after the Second Vespers on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, and are then kept in a special silver-gilt casket near the Confessio Petri until required.
Archbishops normally travel to the Vatican for the ceremony of the investiture of the Pallium. However, now Pope Francis has made changes to the public ceremony of investiture of the Pallium on Metropolitan Archbishops emphasizing that the investiture is an ecclesial event of the whole diocese, and not merely a juridical or ceremonial event. They don’t need to travel to the Vatican for the investiture anymore. The Pallium will be blessed in Rome during the Mass on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul. Then, the investiture will take place in the home diocese of the Metropolitan Archbishop who will be invested by the Apostolic Nuncio, the representative of the Pope.
It will be the responsibility of the Nuncio to determine with the Metropolitan Archbishops the most opportune date, circumstances and manner to publicly and officially invest him with the Pallium by mandate of the Holy Father, and with the participation of the Suffragan Bishops of the Province.
According to Monsignor Guido Marini, Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, in this way the ceremony will continue to symbolize communion between the See of Peter and the Successor of the Apostle and those who are chosen to carry out the episcopal ministry as Metropolitan Archbishop of an Ecclesiastical Province, and it will favor the participation of the local Church in an important moment of its life and history.
This will come into effect immediately starting on the 29th of June 2015.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni: