This morning, Benedict XVI was presented with two lambs that had been blessed earlier in the morning for today’s feast of St. Agnes.
The blessing took place in the basilica on Rome’s Via Nomentana, which bears the saint’s name and where she is buried.
The lambs’ wool will be used to weave palliums for new metropolitan archbishops, who will receive them on June 29, the 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 Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains in Rome raise the lambs, the symbolic animal of St. Agnes who was martyred in Rome around the year 305.
The sisters of St. Cecilia will make the palliums from the newly-shorn wool of the lambs.