By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – When Pope Benedict XVI processes to the altars where he will celebrate Mass in Washington and New York, he will be carrying the pastoral staff of Blessed Pope Pius IX.
Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, said that the 19th-century pastoral staff, topped with a cross instead of a crucifix, "is becoming the usual one for papal celebrations."
On Palm Sunday, March 16, Pope Benedict started carrying the older staff, which was used by every pope from Blessed Pope Pius to Pope Paul VI.
"This is the typical staff used by the popes because it is a cross without a crucifix," Msgr. Marini said April 10.
It is taking the place of the staff with the rugged crucifix on top that was created by Italian artist Lello Scorzelli for Pope Paul in the mid-1960s. The Vatican's yearbook, Activity of the Holy See, includes a photograph of Pope Paul holding the Scorzelli staff on Easter 1965.
But the piece has become closely identified with the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and is placed alongside a photograph of him in the renewed "Vatican Splendors" exhibit currently touring the United States.
Msgr. Marini said there actually are two copies of the Scorzelli staff: the one in the exhibit, open in St. Petersburg, Fla., through May 11, and "the other which is here in the pontifical sacristy."
The Scorzelli crucifix remains the model for the crucifix on the rosaries Pope Benedict gives to his guests.
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