Their fleece was white as snow … presumably

VATICAN CITY — Reporters in the Vatican press office felt baaaad this morning; they thought they were going to get to see closed-circuit footage of Pope Benedict XVI blessing two live lambs.

Instead we got a sound feed of the ceremony that took place in a small room adjacent to the Vatican audience hall.


Last year Pope Benedict blessed the lambs in Rome's Basilica of St. Agnes. (CNS photo/Reuters)

Today is the feast of St. Agnes, a Roman martyr, and it’s the day the pope traditionally blesses two lambs raised by Trappist monks near Rome.

The lambs are sheared and the wool is given to the cloistered Benedictine nuns at Rome’s Basilica of St. Cecilia. The nuns use the wool to make palliums, which are bands that the heads of archdioceses wear around their shoulders during liturgical functions.

Every year on the June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the pope places the bands around the necks of archbishops who have taken office in the past year.

Today, after blessing the animals, the pope also asked God to “bless the pastors who will receive the palliums made from the wool of these lambs.”

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