The Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace, Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama received the pallium today, August 27, 2020, at the hands of His Excellency, Archbishop Antonio Guido Fillipazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral Garki.

Archbishop Kaigama received his first pallium in 2000 when he was appointed Archbishop and Metropolitan of Jos. This is the second time he is receiving the pallium – as Archbishop of Abuja and Metropolitan of the Province of Abuja.

The pallium (derived from the Roman pallium or palla, a woolen cloak; pl.: pallia) is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by the Holy See upon metropolitans and primates as a sign of their communion with the Pope and a symbol of their conferred jurisdictional authorities. In its present form, the pallium is a long and three fingers broad (narrow) white band adornment, woven from the wool of lambs, and worn over the shoulders.

The lambs whose wool are used to make the pallium are presented by the nuns of the Convent of St Agnes in Rome and solemnly blessed by the Pope on January 21, the feast of St Agnes (Agnes means lamb – a symbol of innocence and purity). The Benedictine nuns of St Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, weave the wool into the pallium. They are then placed on the tomb of St Peter until June 29 when they are brought out during the Mass of the Solemnity of St Peter and Paul at St Peter’s Basilica celebrated by the Pope.

The pallium reminds the metropolitan archbishop of the need to put on the mind of Christ in his pastoral ministry among God’s people, just as Christ went in search of the lost sheep and carried it over his shoulders and gently led it back to the fold.

© Omokugbo Ojeifo, 2020.

Rev Fr Emmanuel Omokugbo Ojeifo is a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja.