January 21, 2011.
Benedict XVI has carried out the traditional blessing of two lambs for the feast of St. Agnes. The wool of these sheep will be used to make the pallium for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29.
The Pope will deliver it to the new metropolitan archbishops.
The pallium are circular bands of wool decorated with six crosses of silk that the Pope sent to the metropolitan bishops as a sign of their special significance.
In attendance at the blessing were trappist monks from the Abbey of the Three Fountains, where they raise sheep and the religious of Santa Cecilia live and make the pallium.
This blessing is part of the ritual for the feast of St. Agnes. The Roman martyr is represented in art with a lamb in her arms, because according to tradition she was killed the same way as they were.