During Mass on the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis told new archbishops that they were called to be strong witnesses who are masters of prayer that are immersed in the faith.
"The Church wants you to be men of witness. Saint Francis used to tell his brothers: 'Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words!' There is no witness without a coherent lifestyle! Today there is no great need for masters, but for courageous witnesses, who are convinced and convincing; witnesses who are not ashamed of the Name of Christ and of His Cross; not before the roaring lions, nor before the powers of this world.”
Pope Francis said that while many forces have tried to destroy the Church throughout its history, none have succeeded.
The bishops came to have their palliums blessed by Pope Francis. Many of those attending will have a crucial role in the future of the Church, including the archbishops from Madrid; Sydney; Chicago; Durango, Mexico; Valencia, Spain; and Santa Fe.
As they embark on their new leadership roles, the Pope emphasized the importance of prayer.
"The Church wants you to be men of prayer, masters of prayer; that you may teach the people entrusted to your care that liberation from all forms of imprisonment is uniquely God’s work and the fruit of prayer; that God sends his angel at the opportune time in order to save us from the many forms of slavery and countless chains of worldliness. For those most in need, may you also be angels and messengers of charity!”
The pallium is a woolen band worn over the archbishop's shoulders. The Pope told them it represents the communion that brings together the "See of Peter and his Successor” to the bishops of the world.
Until recently, the palliums were imposed at the Vatican. However, the tradition has changed under Pope Francis. Archbishops now receive the palliums in the presence of their faithful and other bishops, to show closeness to their people.
After the ceremony, Pope Francis prayed before St. Peter's Tomb for a few minutes with a representative of the main leader of the Orthodox Church. While the two Churches are separate, this ecumenical gesture is repeated every year and shows that there is more than just politeness between Christians.