Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Pope blesses lambs...

On the feast of St. Agnes, John Paul II blessed two live lambs whose wool will be use for the palliums he will place on new archbishops next June. The palliums are two white woolen bands, 4 to 6 centimeters in width, with sewn black silk crosses. Symbol of a bishop's closeness to the Apostolic See, the pallium also symbolizes the lamb that was lost and found, carried on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd, as well as the crucified Lamb for the salvation of humanity. The symbol originally was exclusively the Supreme Pontiff's. The Pope gave it to those bishops who received a special jurisdiction from the Apostolic See. Historical documents show that Pope Symmachus gave it to Cesarius, bishop of Arles, in 513. Following the brief ceremony, the lambs were taken to the Roman convent of St. Cecilia, where the nuns make the palliums, after shearing the animals.

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