Sunday, July 01, 2007

Archbishop Kurtz receives the pallium

Biretta tip to Whispers for the following story featuring Archbishop Kurtz's thoughts on receiving the pallium on Friday morning (thanks to the Eminent Blog for the pic):

The States, meanwhile, had but one recipient this morning -- Archbishop-elect Joseph Kurtz, who doesn't take the reins in Louisville until 15 August.

Just before flying out for Rome earlier this week, Kurtz called into the home office to offer some reflections on the days ahead. Appointed to succeed Archbishop Thomas Kelly only 17 days ago, he's had quite the month, with the last-minute trip necessitating his absence from Wednesday's launch in Denver of the first stage of the US bishops'
nationwide initiative geared toward strengthening and encouraging marriage. (More on that in a bit; Kurtz is chair of the USCCB's Committee for Marriage and the Family.)

Traveling with a delegation of just five, the incoming head of Louisville's 200,000 Catholics, shown here during his big moment earlier today, said he had never been to a Pallium Mass, let alone concelebrated one, let alone on such short notice.

Having met Benedict XVI in his time as prefect of the CDF, the archbishop waxed filial of his "great admiration" for the Pope; "I love his writings, his pastoral leadership," he said.

"I just think we're really blessed with this Holy Father."

As the incoming metropolitan over the province he's been a suffragan bishop of for the last seven years, the archbishop-elect said the in-house move had a deeper meaning to it as opposed to entering a province as a newcomer. He praised Kelly, who he singled out among the nation's 34 archbishops for having "really worked hard on bring together the bishops of our province for prayer, for support -- for unity, really."

Noting his happiness that "there are no strangers" among the bishops of Kentucky and Tennessee, Kurtz pledged to maintain the close ties. Continuing Kelly's work "is a great blessing," he said.

Saying he's spent the last few weeks boning up on the history of the pallium, the 60 year-old pilgrim prelate said he was expecting a "very moving" morning. He "didn't expect" to be making the trip this year, he said, noting that it was the nuncio to Washington, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who "urged" him not to delay his reception of the lambswool band until 2008.

Even so, Kurtz looked on the bright side, musing that "having such a small group might make me focus on the more spiritual aspects of this great event." Two Knoxvilleans with him in the Eternal City, and the outgoing head of its burgeoning local church said he "didn't think it'd be as emotional" to leave as it's proven itself to be.

"I've really felt a great bond with the people here," he said. Even though Louisville offers a wealth of opportunities for new bonds, he mused that missing the "great warmth" and "great unity" of Tennessee and his team there "would be the hard part.

"We have a wonderful diocese here," he said, "it's such a vibrant church.

"People really desire to live the faith and to be true to it.... Being bishop here is kind of like being pastor of a larger [parish] church."

While Kurtz's delegation includes two Tennesseans and two representatives from Louisville, it should come as no surprise that -- as with every ecclesiastical party worth its salt -- the group includes a Philadelphian: Kurtz's longtime friend and seminary classmate Msgr Herbert Bevard, who celebrates a new ministry of his own this weekend as he's installed as regional vicar of the city's northern half.

For those curious about the pins he'll need to keep his new garb weighed down, they're staying within the family -- Kurtz said his set of the traditional three gemmed spikes will be, at his precessor's insistence, a gift of Archbishop Kelly.
CNS has some other comments from His Grace:

Carrying a shopping bag with a box containing his pallium, Archbishop Kurtz told Catholic News Service, "the whole Mass and ceremony kept saying to us, 'You are Christ, the only son of God.'"

It was a reminder that "we are called to serve Christ in union with the Holy Father," he said.

The archbishop said the fact that he was just named to the Archdiocese of Louisville June 12 and will not be installed as archbishop until Aug. 15 meant there was no time to organize an archdiocesan pilgrimage to travel to Rome with him.

But, he said, "that allowed for a very spiritual mindset" and means he will enter the Louisville Archdiocese wearing a symbol of "the yoke, serving the people in the name and the power of Christ," who carried the lost sheep back to the flock.

"I think it's beautiful to be able to go to my installation with the pallium," he said. "I will bring it to the people."
Finally, Whispers also provides the words spoken by His Holiness before bestowing the pallium (which are quite inspirational):

To the glory of Almighty God and the praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the apostles Peter and Paul, and of the Holy Roman Church, for the honor of the Churches, which have been placed in your care, and as a symbol of your authority as metropolitan archbishop: We confer on you the pallium taken from the tomb of Peter to wear within the limits of your ecclesiastical province.

May this pallium be a symbol of unity
and a sign of your communion with the Apostolic See,
a bond of love, and an incentive to courage.
On the day of the coming and manifestation
of our great God and chief shepherd, Jesus Christ,
may you and the flock entrusted to you
be clothed with immortality and glory.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

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