A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH

Benedict XVI Blesses Lambs for Palliums

VATICAN CITY, 22 JAN. 2007 (ZENIT)

Benedict XVI blessed two live lambs whose wool will be used to weave the palliums worn by metropolitan archbishops.

This blessing, which the Holy Father performed on Saturday in the Urban VIII Chapel, is traditional for the Jan. 21 feast of St. Agnes.

The pallium, worn by the Pope and archbishops, symbolizes the lost sheep that is found again, carried on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd, and the Lamb crucified for the salvation of humanity. It also symbolizes, in part, the Pope's concession of authority and communion to heads of major local Churches.

The two lambs donated by the religious of the Order of Lateran Canons Regular are raised in the Trappist monastery of the Three Fountains ("Tre Fontane"), on the outskirts of Rome.

After the lambs are shorn on Holy Tuesday, the palliums are woven by the nuns of the Benedictine convent of St. Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome.

Then they are placed in a bronze urn near the Chair of St. Peter until June 29, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, when the Pope blesses them and confers them on the metropolitan archbishops appointed during the year. ZE07012202
 

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