Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory Receives Sacred Pallium

Vestment symbolizes communion with Apostolic See and Archbishop’s role as a shepherd

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory received the sacred pallium during a Mass on Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle in Washington. The pallium is a vestment worn about the neck and shoulders by a metropolitan archbishop as a symbol of his office, his duty as a shepherd of the faithful, and as a sign of communion with the Apostolic See.

Presented to metropolitan archbishops by the pope on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29) in Rome, it has become the practice under Pope Francis for the pallium to be formally conferred by the apostolic nuncio (diplomatic representative of the Holy See) to emphasize the importance of the archbishop’s ministry to his local Church.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States vested Archbishop Gregory with the pallium at the beginning of the Mass. In his homily, Archbishop Pierre spoke of the pallium and its meaning for the archbishop and the people of the local church of Washington. “At the beginning of the liturgy, I imposed a sacred pallium upon Archbishop Gregory, who is called to model his life after Christ the Good Shepherd, who never ceases to lead the flock to verdant pastures and the waters of life,” he said.

He went on to explain the day’s Gospel, the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37): a man leaving Jerusalem was beaten by robbers on the road, and the Good Samaritan had compassion on him, bringing him to the inn to care for him, pouring wine and oil on his wounds. “We are that unnamed man, half dead and beaten, robbed and stropped, lying in the road,” Archbishop Pierre said. “We have been robbed of our dignity and beaten by robbers – namely, the devil and his minions – who have led us into sin… Jesus, the Good Samaritan, sees this woundedness. He sees where love, mercy, and healing are needed, and he finds us.”

Archbishop Pierre encouraged Archbishop Gregory to follow the example of Christ, the Good Samaritan and the Good Shepherd. “[A]s a spiritual father to this family of faith, you must teach the fullness of the faith, – by word and deed, showing compassion and being a neighbor,” he said. And the rest of the faithful, Archbishop Pierre said, are also given “homework” by the teacher (Jesus), to follow the command to love our neighbor: “‘Go and do likewise.’”

Archbishop Gregory was installed on May 21 as the seventh Archbishop of Washington. He previously served as the archbishop of Atlanta and was named by Pope Francis in April to succeed Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who served as Washington’s archbishop from June 2006 to October 2018.

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