Archbishop Wuerl Celebrates First Sunday Mass

June 21, 2006

When Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl arrives at the Cathedral of St. Matthew on Sunday for his first Mass there as the Archbishop of Washington, he’ll be welcomed inside by his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the auxiliary bishops of Washington and the Cathedral’s rector, Monsignor Ron Jameson, during a special ceremony:

Sunday, June 25
10:00 a.m.
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

St. Matthew’s is significant because the cathedral is the main, or “mother church” of a diocese and the site of the “cathedra,” the bishop’s chair that represents his teaching authority.

After Archbishop Wuerl is greeted formally at the main doors, he will venerate, or kiss, a crucifix, then sprinkle holy water. He, Cardinal McCarrick and the others will process to the altar. Cardinal McCarrick will speak briefly at the start of Mass. Archbishop Wuerl will deliver the homily and speak briefly at the close of Mass, then greet parishioners at the entrance to the church.

On Monday, June 26, he will depart for Rome, along with Cardinal McCarrick and a number of pilgrims (note: people are traveling on a number of different flights). There, he will celebrate special Masses and receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Each year, on the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul, June 29, new metropolitan archbishops throughout the world (a metropolitan heads the lead diocese within a province, or group of dioceses) receive a pallium from the Pope. This wool strip, which hangs over the shoulders and is woven from the wool of specially-blessed lambs, is worn by the archbishop as a visible sign of his pastoral authority within his province, and of his communion with the Holy Father as the successor to St. Peter and shepherd of the universal Church.

Archbishop Wuerl is one of three Americans who will receive the pallium this year. The others are Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]