Today, Tuesday, 19 March 2013, our new Pope will be solemnly inaugurated to begin his Pontificate. He is already our Pope, ever since he accepted the rightful election in the Conclave, but the Inauguration ceremony affirms and completes that process, with the imposition of the symbols of the authority of the Pope, as the leader of the entire Universal Church.
There will be some changes to the liturgy this year, as the imposition of the Pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman will take place just before the Mass starts, instead of being within the Mass itself, as the impositions are seen as more of an extra-liturgical event.
The Pope will pray with the leaders of the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops at the Tomb of St. Peter underneath the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, where the pallium and the ring had been placed since the night before.
The Pope will then proceed with all the other concelebrating Cardinals and prelates outside to the Altar at St. Peter’s Square, which in the meanwhile the Laudes Regia hymn or ‘Laud to the King (Christ)’, that is a glorious rendition of the Litany of the Saints, with the new innovation of the inclusion of part asking the past Popes who had been canonised as saints for the new Pope, their successor, beginning from Pope St. Linus to Pope St. Pius X.
Following after this is the imposition of the papal pallium, which is different from the pallium worn by the Metropolitan Archbishops. Pope Francis’ pallium will be the same in appearance with that of Pope Benedict XVI’s pallium, with red crosses instead of black ones, representing the wounds of Christ, with three gold pins on three of the crosses, representing the nails that bound both hands and the legs of Christ onto the cross. The pallium symbolises the authority the Pope has over the entire Universal Church. The pallium will be imposed by the senior Cardinal of the order of Priest in the Cardinal-electorate, Cardinal Godfried Danneels.
The Ring of the Fisherman will be given after this, which signifies the bond between the Pope and God’s Church, and as the image on the ring depicts, that of St. Peter holding the keys on a boat, while fishing, as a fisher of man, it symbolises the Pope’s role as the successor of St. Peter the Apostle, and also as the current holders of the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, entrusted by Christ to Peter. The ring will be presented to the Pope by the senior Cardinal Deacon, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.
Six Cardinals representing the rest of the Cardinals will pay homage to the Pope, and will give their obedience to him, following the imposition of the pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman.
The Mass follows as usual, and the readings will be done in different languages, English, Spanish, and most notably the Gospel in Greek, to highlight the universal nature of the Church, encasing both the Western and Eastern tradition of Christendom. The whole liturgy of the Mass itself will be conducted in solemn Latin and beautiful Gregorian chants.
The booklet for the Mass is available at the link below, in English, Italian, and Latin :