Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Pope blesses special lambs on Feast of St. Agnes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 21, 2011

I am humbled to be adopted into the family of God, and equally humbled to be a part of this historical family of faith and tradition.

Each family has traditions, and none are without significance or meaning. Just as the Almighty on several occasions told various Israelites to ‘stack a pile of rocks at this location to remind your children of the wonderful things God has done for you’ (my paraphrase) – in other words, He instructed them to start a tradition – each beautiful thing, every ceremony, celebration, and word has significance, and meaning that is designed to remind us of His goodness and attributes. Incense? Prayers of the Saints! Red color? The precious Blood.

Read on to learn about one of the special traditions!

Pope blesses special lambs on Feast of St. Agnes

he Basilica of St. Agnes outside-the-walls/ An archbishop's pallium

The Basilica of St. Agnes outside-the-walls/ An archbishop's pallium

Pope blesses special lambs on Feast of St. Agnes
By Alan Holdren, Rome Correspondent

Rome, Italy, Jan 21, 2011 / 05:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).

– After an unusual journey, a pair of lambs destined for great things were blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in a traditional ceremony at the Vatican on Jan. 21.

The soft, pure wool from the little lambs will be used to make a vestment, called a “pallium,” which the Pope places on the shoulders of the world’s newest metropolitan archbishops each summer.

The lambs have quite an adventure before they arrive in the Vatican.

Sister Hanna Pomnianowska of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that the lambs come from a Trappist Monastery at Tre Fontane, just outside of Rome.

They are brought to the sisters the day before the ceremony, where they are
the “joy” of the convent and the surrounding neighborhood. They are washed with soap to “bring out the shine” in their coats, blowdried, fed and generally “coddled” before the next day’s festivities.

The sisters have had the responsibility since 1884, she said, but they carry on a tradition that was passed on to them by a neighboring convent before it closed.

The morning of the Feast of St. Agnes, the sisters adorn the two lambs with flowers, small roses and a mantle each, one white and one red. The initials S.A.V. adorn the white one and stand for “St. Agnes Virgin,” while S.A.M.
is emblazoned on the red background for “St. Agnes Martyr.”

At 9 a.m., a pair of representatives from the Basilica of St. John Lateran arrive to haul the lambs to the Basilica of St. Agnes Outside-the-walls in northern Rome.

The Order of Lateran Canons Regular run the parish dedicated to St. Agnes, which has more than 10,000 parishioners.

On this, one of the most special days of the year in parish life, the lambs are carried inside in baskets for the 10:30 a.m. Mass.

This year, the Pope’s auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Rome’s North Region, Bishop Guerino Di Tora, presided over the Mass and Lateran Abbot Fr. Pietro Guglielmi blessed the lambs in the special rite.

From there, the lambs are loaded into a truck again for the ride to the Vatican.

This year, they arrived in time for the 11:30 a.m. presentation ceremony at the Vatican’s Urban VIII Chapel. They were ceremoniously presented to the Pope,
who then entrusted them to the Benedictine religious sisters of the Roman convent of St. Cecilia in Trastevere.

As they do every year, the sisters will use the lambs’ wool to make a pallium for each of this year’s newly-appointed heads of Catholic archdioceses in the
world with sees in major cities.

The pallium is a special white liturgical vestment emblazoned with six black silk crosses. It is placed over the shoulders of the archbishops when they are recognized by the Pope. It is a symbol of both their pastoral authority and their unity with the Successor of Peter.

Last year, 38 metropolitan archbishops received the pallium in St. Peter’s

The pallia from this year’s lambs will be ready for the ceremony on June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. At that point the woolen vestments begin another journey, out from Rome to the archdioceses of the world.

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Pope Benedict XVI – Biography Pope tells why he chose the name of “Benedict XVI”

2 Responses to “Pope blesses special lambs on Feast of St. Agnes”

  1. If you are interested, I am a former catholic. I started to study the bible for myself after having been sexually abused by a catholic priest as a kid.

    What I found is that 95% of catholic doctrine is in direct contradiction to biblical teachings. If you are at all curious, I can send you the info. Every other ex catholic who has become a christian has had the same claim: The priests and the popes lied to us!

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder


    • Warm Southern Breeze said

      Thanks, John! Yes, I recollect that you had previously shared information about your unfortunate experience.

      Specifically, it was in response to: https://warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/the-pursuit-of-happyness/#comment-894

      My remarks were:
      Submitted on 2011/01/05 at 12:30 AM | In reply to John Wilder.

      “Hi John! It’s good to hear from you again! I do appreciate your readership. First, I am genuinely sad to read of your suffering and tragedy. There is simply no excuse for what happened to you, or to other innocents. As deeply tragic as your childhood emotional injury is, there is healing – as I’m certain you already know. An integral part of healing – and one that simply cannot be ignored – is an understanding of the nature of forgiveness; for we too, we all, are in desperate need of a savior. Our own forgiveness is predicated – as the LORD said – by our own ability to forgive. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Regarding the claim that “about 90% of Catholic doctrine is in direct contradiction to Biblical teachings,” that’s a rather broad brush, and hence, difficult – if not impossible – to address, much less understand precisely and exactly which “Biblical teachings” are “in direct contradiction,” as you assert. Let’s address a few topics point-by-point in another, separate entry, shall we?”

      You’ll forgive me, I hope, since I do not know “95% of Catholic doctrine,” so it would be an egregious error of the highest order for me to make any such overly broad or otherwise sweeping assertion. I can, however, point out that you had previously asserted “90% of Catholic doctrine,” whereas now you assert “95% of Catholic doctrine.” Perhaps you’ve done more studying? *Haha!* If you are willing, I would be also – as I previously wrote – to “address a few topics point-by-point in another, separate entry.


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