Friday, November 27, 2009

New Pastoral Staff for Pope Benedict

Tomorrow Pope Benedict will celebrate Pontifical Vespers as the first Vespers of the first Sunday of Advent, which also marks the beginning of the new liturgical year.

On this occasion, the Holy Father will begin to use a new pastoral staff. As Msgr. Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, tells tomorrow's edition of the Osservatore Romano:

Similar in shape to the ferula of Pius IX so far in use this can be considered to all intents and purposes the pastoral staff of Benedict XVI.

Like the ferula of Bl. Pius IX in 1877, the new staff is donated to the Pontiff by the Circolo San Pietro, a Roman association founded in 1869 in support of the papacy. It is slightly smaller and lighter than the ferula of Bl. Pius IX.
On the front side of the new ferula is depicted in the centre the Lamb of God, and on the four points of the cross, the symbols of the four Evangelists. The arms of the cross are decorated in a net-like pattern which evokes the fisherman whose successor Pope Benedict is. On the backside there is in the centre the Chi-Rho, the monogram of Christ, and on the four points of the cross, four Fathers of Occident and Orient, Augustine and Ambrose, Athanasius and John Chrysostom, the same who also carry Bernini's cathedra. On the top of the shaft is the coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI.