This morning, Pope Francis 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 – a white stole adorned with six black crosses – is a liturgical vestment worn by the Pope and the metropolitan archbishops in their Churches and in those of their Provinces.
The pallia are stored in a casket near the Confessio Petri and the pontiff bestows them upon the new archbishops on the Solemnity of the Saints Peter and Paul, as a sign of union with the Apostolic See.
The nuns of the Roman convent of San Lorenzo in Panisperna raise the lambs, the symbolic animal of St. Agnes who was martyred in Rome around the year 305.