Monday, June 30, 2008

Irish missionary archbishop receives the pallium

Recently-appointed Archbishop Richard Anthony Burke SPS of Benin City, Nigeria, was among 41 metropolitan archbishops from all over the world who received the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI at a Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.

Archbishop Burke is a native of Fethard, Co. Tipperary, and a member St Patrick's Missionary Society, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow,

Others among the metropolitan archbishops to receive the pallium are: Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya, who received the red hat last year and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, recently appointed patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

The pallium is a symbol of the Pope's communion with the new archbishops who are the heads of major local churches throughout the world and of their shared collegiality with the papal authority.

It is a small vestment, a circular band of white lamb’s wool a few inches wide with six black or red crosses attached. It also has pendant falling down at the front and the back. It is worn over the chasuble at Mass.

In 1984 Pope John Paul began this ceremony in the Vatican Basilica of bestowing it personally on all new metropolitan archbishops on 29 June, the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul, Apostles, and it has continued every year since.

Archbishop Burke is the second of three children of the late Mrs. Margaret Mary Burke and the late Mr. Cornelius Burke. Ordained in 1975 for St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, he worked in the dioceses of Port Harcourt and Warri, Nigeria (1975-1990).

From 1992-95 he was Director of Formation of the Major Seminary of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, located on the Campus of the National University of Ireland at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

He was ordained co-adjutor bishop of Warri in 1996, becoming the ordinary of that diocese in 1997.

He was installed as archbishop of Benin City on 7 March this year.
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