The Pope imposes the pallium on an Augustinian Recollect for the first time
Mario Molina has passed into the history of the Order of Augustinian Recollects as the first religious to receive the pallium from the Pope. Last June 29, the Holy Father imposed this symbolic garment on the only Augustinian Recollect Archbishop, who carries out his mission in the Guatemalan region of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapán. Benedict XVI himself explained that the pallium “highlights the intimate communion of pastors with the successor of Peter and the profound bond that links us to the apostolic tradition.”
During the festivity of Saints Peter and Paul, principal patrons of Rome, the ceremony of imposing the pallium on the newly appointed archbishops was held for another year in Saint Peter’s Basilica. In this event, 46 new archbishops were given the “pallium,” a kind of a stole around the neck that serves to mark the metropolitan archbishops, who are pastors leading one entire ecclesiastical region composed of several dioceses.
The archbishops concelebrated with the Pope, with whom they entered the Church in procession. They were presented to the assembly and in behalf of the newly appointed archbishops, one of them made an oath of fidelity and obedience to the Pontiff. Then, the deacon took the pallium just adjacent the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, where they were deposited beforehand. Afterwards, the Holy Father blessed them, and one after another, the archbishops knelt before him, as he imposed the pallium on them. Subsequently, the celebration of the Eucharist ensued.
The Pope in his homily during the mass explained the meaning of the pallium and its imposition, which he summed up during the Angelus just after the mass. According to Benedict XVI, the pallium “highlights the intimate communion of the pastors with the successor of Peter and the profound bond that links us to the apostolic tradition.” This is a message of communion, which was particularly highlighted in the Eucharist by the presence of a delegation of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople and the participation of the Anglican choir of Westminster Abbey together with the Sistine chapel choir.
A considerable Augustinian Recollect representation
The group of Augustinian Recollects, headed by the Prior General, Miguel Miró, who accompanied Msgr. Mario Molina, felt intensely this message of communion.
Before Mario Molina became an archbishop, the Order had only one archbishop, José Aranguren, who occupied the seat of Manila in the mid-nineteenth century, but he was able neither to visit Rome nor to receive the pallium.
Neither did it go unnoticed by the Recollects the providential coincidence of receiving, in the person of Msgr. Molina, this honor and this decisive recognition of communion in the same year that the Recollects celebrate the Centenary of the apostolic brief Religiosas Familias, by which, the Holy See having recognized their growth in maturity, declared the Recollects as an independent religious Order.
19 missionary bishops
At present, the Order has 19 bishops. Among them, only Msgr. Eusebio Hernández has his seat in Europe. The rest of them pasture their respective diocese in North America and in different Latin American countries: five in Brazil, three in Colombia, three in Peru, three in Panama, one in the United States, one in Mexico, one in Guatemala and one in Costa Rica. Most of them could be considered “missionary bishops,” since their ecclesiastical territory is still at its building or development stage.
Among these 19 Augustinian Recollect bishops, only Msgr. Mario Molina is an archbishop. He assumed the said post based in Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapán, Guatemala last September 17.
SEPTEMBER 2011 · Guatemala. “This is my prayer: that I may be a bishop in the like of St. Augustine”
JULY 2011 · Guatemala. Augustinian Recollect Mario Alberto Molina, new archbishop of Los Altos
JULY 2012. . The Pope imposes the pallium to Msgr. Mario Molina