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Pope Francis Marked The Feast of St Agnes With A Centuries-Old Tradition

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
22 Jan 2016

The Pope marked the Feast of St Agnes with a centuries-old tradition: the blessing of the lambs, whose wool is used to make the Pallium, or stoles, for the newly-appointed Metropolitan Archbishops.

The Pope blessed the small lambs in baskets from the Basilica of Saint Agnes. To symbolize Saint Agnes' purity, both lambs are surrounded by flowers, one white and the other red. The colors represent virginity and martyrdom.

A Pallium is a stole made of white wool with six embroidered, black crosses. Bishops wear them on their shoulders as a symbol of the Good Shepherd.

Pope Francis could not resist petting the docile pets.

POPE FRANCIS
"Is he calm?"
-"Yes, this one is a male and the other is a female."

Once woven, the Palliums are guarded in an urn, until the Pope gives them to the Metropolitan Archbishops on June 29, at the feast of Saint Peter and Paul.