Monday, January 23, 2012
Pope blesses the lambs
VATICAN CITY, 21 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Urban VIII Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Pope was presented with two lambs which had earlier been blessed 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 wool of the lambs is used to make the palliums bestowed on new metropolitan archbishops on 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. [Among them the newly installed Archbishops of Manila and Capiz.]
The pallium is a white woollen band embroidered with six black crosses which is worn by the Pope and by metropolitan archbishops. [Symbolical of the lamb born on the shoulder of the Good Shepherd which the Metropolitan Archbishop emulates as he presides over a Metropolitan See. Being the head of the archdiocese makes him the higher ranking bishop over and above in dignity and responsibility against his suffragan dioceses. That is why there are rare cases when the Metropolitan Archbishop even becomes a diocesan adminstrator when the retirement or sudden resignation of a diocesan bishop is accepted by the Holy Father. This happened just recently when Cardinal Rosales, being the metropolitan of Manila, became apostolic administrator of Pasig after the retirement of Bishop Francisco San Diego. Cardinal Rosales ceased to be administrator after the installation and enthronement of San Diego's successor, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara.] The lambs, the symbol of St. Agnes who was martyred in Rome around the year 305, are raised by the Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains in Rome and the palliums are made from the newly-shorn wool by the sisters of St. Cecilia.