As a symbol of being a shepherd to his people, on August 23 Archbishop Cupich was invested with the pallium.
"It is placed on the shoulders reminding the one who wears it and the entire church he serves that we are a community that goes after the lost sheep," Cupich told a packed Holy Name Cathedral during the installation Mass. "Not only those who have strayed, but those who are ignored, forgotten or overlooked. The task is not just to find them and bring them home, but to lift them up high, to shoulder level, where they can begin to see and live a new life, the life of faith."
The pallium itself is a strip of white wool, about two inches wide, with six black crosses. The ends, which hang down about a foot in the front and back, are black, to look like the hooves of a lamb carried on the archbishop's shoulders, and three of the crosses have gold pins through them, reminiscent of the nails of Christ's crucifixion. It was made from the wool of a lamb blessed by the pope on the feast of St. Agnes in January and symbolizes the pontiff's connection to the church in Chicago. The word "pallium" is derived from the Roman pallium, a woolen cloak, which comes from the Latin "covering".
Pope St. John Paul II started the practice of personally bestowing the pallium on newly installed archbishops every year on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, in the Vatican.
Pope Francis changed that process this year, calling the 46 new archbishops to Rome to receive their palliums (pallia) during the feast day Mass.
Archbishop Cupich's wool garment came in a leather box with a sealed letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the pope's U.S. ambassador, also known as the apostolic nuncio.
Even though Archbishop Cupich received the pallium in June, he did not wear it until Archbishop Viganò placed it on his shoulders on the August 23 Mass. During the instllation, Archbishop Viganò emphasized the role of the archbishop in preserving and defending the magisterium and the teaching of the church in unity with the Holy Father, so that the church remains one and universal.
Pope Francis wanted the new archbishops to share the occasion with their own people and with the bishops of the other dioceses in their provinces. So the pope's representatives in the archbishops' home countries stood in for him during each archbishop's installation ceremonies.