21 January 2010
The Holy Father blessed lambs today, the feast of St. Agnes, as usual.
The lambs are associated with Agnes, because of the Latin similarity of their names, Agnes and agnus. Get it?
Those sisters in the background are Benedictine nuns from the convent at St. Cecilia in Trastevere. When I first lived in Rome, I would go there everyday, into the cloister, and serve Mass for the rector of the basilica. I got to know them a bit.
In the morning the rather heavily drugged lambs are, tied down on a small litter, decorated with flowers, and brought to the Basilica of St. Agnes out on the Via Nomentana, where Mass is said. You are thereby entertained by their bleating…. better than the Sistine Choir, actually.
Now that I think of it….it’s a good thing they don’t mix that agnus thing up with angus. That would make the litter harder to carry! (Where is Vincenzo when you need him?)
Then they are taken to the Pope.
Then they are taken to St. Cecilia’s.
Later they will be shorn and, traditionally, their wool is used for the pallia distributed to new archbishops on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Of course there are so many archbishops these days that they would need a whole flock of lambs.
Then they are taken out to a beautiful farm, Timmy, where they can play with other lambs.
Well… honestly… I am not sure about the fate of the lambs.
But I do know that Romans are neither overly sentimental about critters nor are they sparing in their appreciation of abbacchio scottaditto.
“But Father! But Father!”, the fluffly lamb-lovers will blurt, as they recoil in horror from the screen. “Would you… would you….?!? You’re baaaaahd!”
I would. When I see lambs, I think “Supper and sweater.”
And for the record, in June the new archbishops get the better design of the pallium. Just in case the Pope was going to ask.