Our Patronal Feast and a New Metropolitan Cross

Solemnity of Saint Louis of France

On Saturday, August 25, the Church universal celebrates the memory of our principal patron in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Saint Louis IX, King of France. The patronal feast which is a solemnity in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis will be transferred to Sunday, August 26, in order that a greater number of the faithful of the Archdiocese may participate in the Solemn Pontifical Mass at 5 P.M. If possible, please participate in the Holy Mass on this coming Sunday, in order to ask the intercession of Saint Louis, King of France, for the many needs of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

I also encourage you to familiarize yourselves again with the life of Saint Louis. Saint Louis is a model for husbands, fathers, heads of state, for those who carry out the work of charity, and for all of us. He was truly a man who gave Himself completely to Christ in his vocation and life. He became more and more conformed to Christ, giving his last energies of life to leading a crusade to safeguard the holy places of our Lord's Redemptive Incarnation.

New Metropolitan Cross

At the Solemn Pontifical Mass for the Solemnity of Saint Louis on Sunday, August 26, I will bless and use for the first time a new Metropolitan Cross which was commissioned by the Archdiocese and created by Fratelli Savi, ecclesiastical goldsmiths in Rome. Claudio and Piero Savi completed the Metropolitan Cross in these days. It arrived in Saint Louis last week. The Metropolitan Cross is truly a work of art, worthy of the great beauty of the Sacred Liturgy and of our Cathedral Basilica.

The Metropolitan Cross is a symbol of the unity of the all of the dioceses in the Province of Saint Louis, namely, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and the Dioceses of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Jefferson City and Springfield-Cape Girardeau. That unity binds the dioceses of the Province to Rome, the See of the Bishop of the Universal Church. The other symbol of the office of the Metropolitan Archbishop is the pallium which is imposed by the Roman Pontiff as a sign of the bond of unity between the Church in the Province and the universal Church. The Province of Saint Louis encompasses the entire territory of the State of Missouri.

The Metropolitan Cross is carried in procession before the Archbishop, especially on the occasion of special celebration for the entire Province of Saint Louis, for example, the ordination of a new bishop for the Province. It is carried in such a way that the image of Christ crucified is facing the Archbishop to remind him of his solemn responsibilities as a true shepherd of the flock who, like our Lord, the Master, should lay down his life for the sheep entrusted into this care.

The front of the Metropolitan Cross has the image of Christ crucified at its center. At the extremes of the upright and crossbeams are the symbols of the Apocalyptic Lamb, of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and of the four evangelists. On the reverse side of the cross are the coats-of-arms of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (the metropolitan see), and the Dioceses of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Jefferson City and Springfield-Cape Girardeau (the suffragan sees). The inside of the Metropolitan Cross is a reliquary containing relics of Saint Louis IX, King of France; Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint Catherine Labouré, Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Saint Pius X, Saint Maria Goretti, and Blessed Pius IX.

Following the Solemn Pontifical Mass on next Sunday, it will be possible to view the Metropolitan Cross. More information on the Metropolitan Cross is contained in today's edition of the St. Louis Review.

May Saint Louis of France intercede for us and for the many needs of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. May we follow His example in giving our lives totally to Christ in our vocation in life.

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