Vatican City, 21 January 2013 (VIS) - This morning in the Urban VIII Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, the Pope 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 lamb's wool will be used to make the palliums that will be bestowed on the new metropolitan archbishops on 29 June, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.
The pallium, a white woollen band embroidered with six black silk crosses, is a sign of honour and liturgical jurisdiction that is worn by the Pope and by metropolitan archbishops in their churches and those of their provinces. 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.