Archbishop O’Brien to Receive the Pallium from Pope Benedict XVI in Rome Sunday

For the first time since 1989, the Archbishop of Baltimore will be among those receiving the Pallium from Pope Benedict XVI during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Sunday, June 29 at 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. EDT).

The pope will place the pallium– a circular band about two inches wide, made of white wool, and worn over the chasuble (outer Mass vestment) about the neck, breast, and shoulders–on Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, symbolizing his pastoral authority within the Province of Baltimore and of his communion with the Holy Father as the successor to St. Peter and shepherd of the universal Church.

Attending the Mass will be approximately 100 pilgrims from Baltimore and other locations where Archbishop O’Brien has served during his priestly ministry. Those traveling to Rome from the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be leaving from Dulles International Airport on June 25 and returning July 1 or July 3.

The pallium is a light vestment made of wool shorn from lambs blessed by the Holy Father on the Feast of St. Agnes, January 21. It is conferred each year on June 29, the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, on metropolitan archbishops—one who also has limited jurisdiction over one or more other dioceses– who were named in the past year. 

Archbishop O’Brien, who was named the 15th Archbishop of Baltimore in July 12, 2007, is among only three archbishops from the United States who will receive the Pallium during Sunday’s Mass in Rome.  The other two Americans are Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile, AL.

Though his is different from the pallia conferred on archbishops, the pope also wears a pallium when celebrating Mass. Unlike archbishops, the pope may wear his everywhere as a symbol of his universal jurisdiction. A metropolitan archbishop may only wear his pallium while celebrating Mass in the churches of his province. 

Worn by the bishops of Rome since the fourth century, the pallium has two pendants, one hanging down in front, the other in back. It is set with six black crosses of silk, one each on the breast and back, one on each shoulder, and one on each of the pendants.

The pallium Mass will be broadcast live on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) at 3:30 a.m. (EDT) and will be re-aired at 9:00 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, June 29.


Live feed of the Mass. The Mass will be broadcast live (3:30 a.m. EDT) by Vatican Television Centre and Baltimore-area stations have been granted permission to downlink the Mass for inclusion in their newscasts. The satellite coordinates are: Intelsat Galaxy 25 @ 97° W – Channel Telepace – Audio 2 natural sound. Transponder is Txp K 8 and tha satellite is a Ku band.

Additional Feed of Local Sound: Sound with Archbishop O’Brien and Baltimore Catholics from Rome will be fed on Sunday, June 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. (EDT) via satellite through Associated Press Television Network. The satellite coordinates are: Galaxy 26, C-5 (C Band), U/L Frequency: 6025 Horizontal, D/L Frequency: 3800 Vertical, Audio: 6.2/6.8. APTN Master Control (at time of feed): 212-621-7480. The window will open a few minutes early, but tape will not be fed until 10 a.m.

Phone Interviews: Archbishop O’Brien will have availability to do interviews from Rome by phone. Please contact Sean Caine to make arrangements.

Contact: Sean Caine will be available by cell, 443-857-4372, from Rome, June 27-30. Please call him with any questions, requests, problems that may arise.

Sean Caine

Sean Caine is Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of Communications