The lambs had been raised by the nuns of the Roman convent of San Lorenzo in Panisperna, and the Canons Regular of the Basilica of St. John Lateran presented the lambs to the Pope at his residence Casa Santa Martha.
The pallium is a liturgical vestment the Pope and metropolitan archbishops wear in their churches. It is a white stole adorned with six black crosses.
The Pope traditionally bestows the stole to the new archbishops on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The rite is a sign of communion with the See of Peter.
St. Agnes, a holy virgin martyred under the Diocletian persecution in the year 304, is often depicted with a lamb.
Pope Francis marked the Feast of St. Agnes Jan. 21 by receiving and blessing the lambs whose wool is used to weave pallia for new archbishops.
Pope Francis, Saint Agnes