ROME – Archbishop William E. Lori capped off an eventful day after receiving the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI with celebrations large and more intimate.
The Baltimore archbishop, along with other archbishops from the Unites States – Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver – were joined by hundreds of well-wishers at the Pontifical North American College for a reception.
Each archbishop greeted relatives, friends and members of their old and new dioceses under a canopy in the NAC’s courtyard. Despite Rome’s 90-degree heat, a nice breeze and the shade of the courtyard actually felt fairly comfortable.
In the evening, Archbishop Lori and about 50 guests enjoyed a celebration dinner at a large restaurant outside the city of Rome.
Due to the fact that June 29, the fest of Sts. Peter and Paul is a city holiday in honor of the city’s patron saints, the streets and the restaurant were nearly empty, making for an unusual experience in Rome – an easy transport and a non-crowded banquet hall.
Archbishop Lori said the evening would be short on speeches, and just an expression of his gratitude for those who celebrated his big day, including cousins, and pilgrims from the Diocese of Bridgeport and the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
He quickly doffed his suit coat, and made his way around the room, thanking all the guests for coming to Rome for the pallium ceremony. Consensus was that the Mass was extraordinary.
In the Roman tradition, dinner was a six-course affair, featuring a roast pig that was paraded around the dining room, sparklers and all.
After dinner, the archbishop indeed kept his remarks very brief, noting that he was “honored by your prayers with me and for me,” before thanking those who had organized and coordinated the pilgrimage details.
“And what about that pig!” he added, to much laughter.
The celebrations continue with Mass June 30 at the Altar of the Tomb of St. Peter, near where the palliums were stored the evening before the pallium ceremony. After that, the new archbishops and their pilgrim groups will join Pope Benedict in the Paul VI Hall for a special audience.
For the pilgrimage group, a tour of the other major basilicas in Rome – St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major – will complete the touring July 1, ending with Mass at St. Mary Major.
And then, for most, they say goodbye to Rome and head home to the States in tiem for the Fourth of July.