Tirona-1927-copy-222x300MANILA, June 24, 2013— As he kneels before Pope Francis on Saturday, Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona will receive one of the most special symbols of the Catholic Church.

Tirona arrived in Rome yesterday for the papal Mass and imposition of the “pallium” on new metropolitan archbishops from all over the world in St Peter’s Basilica on June 29 at 9:30 am (3:30 pm in Manila).

Many of those receiving the pallium were appointed since June 29 of last year or during the term of Francis’ predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The pallium is a vestment made of white wool only worn by the pontiff and by archbishops. The pope uses the pallium to symbolize the plenitude of pontifical office.

For archbishops, it signifies the authority given to them by the pope over their respective archdioceses, particularly their bond and shared responsibility with the pontiff to pastors in their regions.

Each year on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the pope gives a pallium to newly-installed archbishops around the world.

Tirona, a Carmelite missionary, will be the only Filipino archbishop to receive the pallium this year.

Last year, four Filipinos were given the pallium. They were Archbishops Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of Manila, John Du of Palo, Jose Advincula of Capiz and Romulo Valles of Davao.

Incidentally, Tirona will also be the first Filipino archbishop to receive pallium from Pope Francis.

The 66-year old prelate was the last archbishop to be appointed by Benedict XVI on September 8, 2012 before the pope resigned from his post five months after.

Tirona was formally installed as Caceres archbishop on November 14, 2012, succeeding Archbishop Emeritus Leonardo Legaspi. (CBCPNews)