VATICAN CITY, 22 JAN. 2007 (ZENIT)
Benedict XVI blessed two live
lambs whose wool will be used to weave the palliums worn by metropolitan
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
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.