Pontiff Blesses Lambs on Feast of St. Agnes

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In keeping with a tradition for today’s feast of St. Agnes, Benedict XVI blessed two lambs whose wool will be used to weave palliums.

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The Pope blessed the lambs this morning at the Vatican. The palliums woven from the lambs’ wool will be bestowed on new metropolitan archbishops on June 29, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The pallium is a white band embroidered with six black crosses and worn over the shoulders. It has two hanging pieces, front and back. Worn by the Pope and by metropolitan archbishops, the pallium symbolizes authority and expresses the special bond between the bishops and the Roman Pontiff.

The two lambs, generally the gift of religious who serve the Basilica of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls, are reared by religious of the Roman convent of St. Lawrence in Panisperna.
After the shearing, it will be the Sisters of the Benedictine Convent of St. Cecilia in Trastevere who will see to the making of the pallia.

The lambs were brought to the Pope in baskets, decorated with strings of white and red flowers.

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