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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2862

Archbisop Malcom Ranjit Receives Pallium

[caption id="attachment_1550" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Most. Rev. Dr. Patabendige Don. Malcolm Ranjith, who has been appointed to the Metropolitan archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka being conferred the Pallium by The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. "]Most. Rev. Dr. Patabendige Don. Malcolm Ranjith, who has been appointed to the Metropolitan archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka being conferred the Pallium  by The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. [/caption]Fr. Nevelle De Perera Reporting From Rome

Rome, 01 July, ( The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI bestowed the Pallium on 34 new archbishops including one of his close collaborators Most. Rev. Dr. Patabendige Don. Malcolm Ranjith, who has been appointed to the Metropolitan archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The newly appointed archbishops represents the universal Church as ten of them are from North America, seven from South America, eight from Europe, six from Africa and three from Asia.

The ceremony took place in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City on Monday the 29th of June which is a holiday for the whole of Rome as it happened to be the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

From the earliest times, the Church of Rome has celebrated the solemnity of the great Apostles Peter and Paul as a single feast on the same day. Through their martyrdom, they became brothers; together, they are the founders of the new Christian Rome. The Pontifical Mass was attended by many Sri Lankan Migrants working in Rome who applauded with joy as the name of the new Archbishop was called upon according to the Liturgical rites.

The sign of an archbishops authority is not a sceptre but a circular stole made of lamb’s wool to evoke the idea that he is, first of all, a shepherd. This stole goes around the archbishop’s neck and is woven over his chasuble when he celebrates the Eucharist. It has a 12 inch strip of material hanging down the front and back. The Pallium, woven from the wool of the sheep that the Bishop of Rome blesses every year on the Feast of St. Agnes and worn by the Pope himself and archbishops, has a double significance. It, so to speak, is a symbol for the flock of Christ, over which the bishops are called upon to preside.

It symbolizes the lost sheep that is found again, as he no longer is able to find the way home by himself, and carries back to the sheepfold on the shoulders of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and the Lamb crucified for the salvation of humanity.

Thus the Pallium becomes a symbol of love the bishop is called to bear, first and foremost, for Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd and, together with him, it becomes the symbol of the calling to love and gather together all God’s people: the saints and the sinners alike. But the Pallium which the bishops receive "from" the tomb of St. Peter has yet another meaning, inseparably connected with the first. It also symbolizes, in part, the Pope's concession of authority and communion to heads of major local churches. Thus it signifies the "collegiality" of bishops in communion with Peter and his successor and speaks of the catholicity of the Church, i.e. the universal communion of one shepherd and flock. Therefore the Pallium is also called "the unity sign", for it is a constant reminder to the archbishops of the fidelity with which they are bound for ever to the bride of Christ, the Church and through her to the Pope himself and to the Petrine ministry.

In his homily, citing the 21st Chapter of the Gospel of John the Pontiff reflected upon the meaning of the woollen band and said that it represents both Christ's flock and the Good Shepherd, himself. He further said that it recalls the lambs and sheep, which the Lord has entrusted to Peter with the task of tending them.

The Pallium, the Pope continued, also "recalls Christ himself, who as the Good Shepherd, takes upon his shoulders the lost sheep -- humanity -- to bring them home. It reminds us of the fact that he, the Supreme Pastor, wanted to make himself the Lamb, to take on from within the destiny of all of us, to carry us and heal us from within," he added. The Holy Father also asked the Lord "to allow us to be upright pastors like him," not out of a sense of obligation, but with a "generous spirit."

His Grace was born on the 15th of November, 1947 as the only son in the family and was ordained a priest by the Holy Father Pope Paul VI in St. Peter's Basilica together with 350 Deacons on the 29th of June, 1975.

He earned his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1978. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith is going to Colombo after having gain much experience in the life of the universal Church. His Grace was a bishop in Sri Lanka in the 1990s (auxiliary bishop of Colombo from 17. 06. 1991 - 02.11. 1995 and the first bishop of the newly carved out diocese of Ratnapura from 02.11.1995- 01.10.2001), but in 2001 Pope John Paul II called him to Rome, appointing him secretary at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide). In April, 2004 he was named the nuncio in Indonesia and East Timor.

Then, after Pope Benedict was elected, in April 2005, he called Bishop Malcolm Ranjith back to Rome, making him secretary of the Divine Worship Congregation in December, 2005, the office he held till he was appointed to the See of Colombo. The archdiocese of Colombo has a Catholic population of around 700,000 spread within 124 parishes. The faithful are served by nearly 300 diocesan clergy, around 270 religious priests and nearly 1500 religious brothers and sisters. It is a firm belief of many that once in Colombo the bishop will have a better chance to further strengthen the peace process, in a country which is slowly recovering after it had been scarred by a bitter war which lasted nearly upon 30 years, and help bind the wounds caused by violence. The bishop is sure to begin this task of nation-building primarily by witnessing to and promoting the Christian values of reconciliation, forgiveness, love, and justice within the Catholic community which comprises of both the communities of Sinhalese and Tamils.

The Italian Bishops Conference, through the intervention of the Bishop, has already granted a donation of one million Euros for the internally displaced persons of the north of Sri Lanka. He will be installed as the 9th archbishop of Colombo on the 5th of August, 2009 at St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Kotahena, Colombo.

We wish Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith best wishes and God’s choicest blessings as he assumes his pastoral duties as the chief shepherd of the See of Colombo.

“Let the doctrine you teach be true nourishment for the people of God.
Let the example of your life attract the follower of Christ,
so that by word and action
you may build up the house
which is God’s Church”.

Fr. Shamindra Jayawardena OSB from Rome.

- Asian Tribune -

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