Just For Fun: Shots from St. Agnes Day in Rome

Just for fun, The Great Roman Fabrizio sent some photos from the Mass celebrated by Card. Muller at the Church of St. Agnes on the P.za Navona. I thought you might like to see them. I am always happy to get on the spot shots from TGR™.

The lambs which were to go to Pope Francis for their blessing.  Their wool is eventually shorn and used to weave the pallia.

Yes, they’re stoned.


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  1. Mary Jane says:

    Great photos. I don’t know about stoning the lambs though…not sure what I (should) think of that.

  2. Wait, stoned? With rocks or drugs?

  3. Mike says:

    Let him who is without lamb cast the first stone. #seamlessgarment

  4. pelerin says:

    Here in England ‘stoned’ means out of it after drinking too much booze!

  5. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    There are many oddities about the Catholic faith that are hard to explain to my Protestant husband from Northern Minnesota.

  6. ChesterFrank says:

    I have the same question about the sheep being stoned. Rocks or drugs, and why?

  7. jskelley says:

    For everyone asking:

    The lambs are given sedative drugs so that they will cooperate with bein put in baskets and covered in flowers. Sheep don’t usually like that kind of thing.

  8. Mary Jane says:

    Jskelley, thanks for the info. Sorry Father, hope you can understand my hesitation at not knowing what to think – I was picturing lambs having rocks thrown at them until they died…it did not occur to me that the lambs were merely drugged.

    [Wait until you see what we do on the Vigil of John the Baptist!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  9. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Thanks here too Padre. I wasn’t sure whether I was looking at a new Rolling Stones album cover, or just sedated lambs.

    I wonder if the sedative they used was Estazolam ?

    [Okay. That made me chuckle.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  10. VexillaRegis says:

    Gosh… Americans….

    [Meaning… what, exactly?]

  11. Oh whew. Under anesthetic is a lot better than being beaned with stones. No objection to that here. Vets anesthetize dogs etc. and they are just fine after. I did object however if they were throwing rocks at them. I didn’t understand what was going on. They are so beautiful and sweet laying there getting a good nap.

  12. John Grammaticus says:

    don’t they eventually end up as somebody’s lunch?

  13. pseudomodo says:

    I have heard some time ago that after the shearing and the blessings they are returned to the path towards their original destination as agnello arrosto – the dinner plate.

  14. EMF says:

    Hello –
    As a Catholic and a veterinarian I am taken aback at the sedating of the lambs. I can’t see how it is being a good steward of Creation. Instead of promoting the health and welfare of the animals, it actually inflicts an unnecessary procedure. To sempercatholic and others, I would remind folks that veterinarians only anesthetize animals to eliminate the pain associated with necessary procedures. The animals are not “perfectly fine” afterwards – as anyone who has watched the recovery from anesthesia knows; I would remind folks that people do not wake up blissfully from anesthesia either.
    During the blessing there is no need for sedation; shepherds know that lambs with a full belly accept being held – all one has to do is to stroke them in a particular manner and the lamb falls soundly asleep.
    I would also suggest that a small pen with nice deep straw bedding and a warm bottle of milk would render the lambs rather sleepy during the Mass. Additionally, the visual effect of seeing innocent creatures which are destined for sacrifice on Good Friday would be poignant.
    “First do no harm.”

  15. Mary Jane says:

    Thanks, Father! :) Re: the vigil of St. John the Baptist, I can only imagine!

    VexillaRegis – yes, I’m American (and I have traveled to many places in Europe, including Rome), and okay so I had the martyrdom of St. Agnes on my mind. St. Agnes was killed with a sword, not stones, but still…I was picturing some sort of reenacting using stones to kill the lambs…just glad for the clarification and glad to know that is not what’s happening. Look, if you’ve been homeschooled (I was) and someone says “stoned” the first thing you think of is martyrdom…not drugs. :-P

  16. Poor Yorek says:

    Silence of the Lambs

    With EMF (great initials btw!) on this one: would seem an unnecessary “treatment” for no benefit (safety of the lambs/public) that could not be readily attained by means of a far less intrusive process.

    Curious now as to how was this done before general anesthesia?

  17. @EMF, don’t want to argue about this but I have been put under five times and always came out of it peacefully, and once I was under for three hours, and I am a people. Just my experience. And yes, glad to know these precious lambs are just asleep and had not been stoned with rocks. How cruel would that be? Just curious, are you a vegetarian?

  18. Mark Smith says:

    I agree with EMF. Baaaaaaa!

  19. benedetta says:

    I seemed to recall the wee lambs being awake/alert during prior blessings by Pope Benedict XVI, the photos of which I always greatly enjoyed seeing, and a quick image search just now yielded a plethora of those. Does appearing before the Holy Father Pope Francis indeed necessitate being plied with a dose of Benadryl as an extra precautionary measure? I expect these lambs were just snoozing after a rigorous administration of blessings…

  20. benedetta says:

    My comment just now above should absolutely be taken to mean that people who hate Vatican II are also always the kindest to tiny little fuzzy animals. You’re welcome, fake news outlets all over the globe!

  21. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Reading through the comments, I was about to remark, ‘Is nature or nurture responsible for how things seem to have changed from the Holy Land, several centuries B.C.(“et quasi agnus coram tondente se obmutescet, et non aperiet os suum”: St. Isaias 53:7) – and, indeed, up to and including at least the first century A.D. (and, apparently, extending to Ethiopia, for that matter: “et sicus agnus coram tondente se, sine voce, sic non aperuit os suum”: Acts 8:32)?’ – when I arrived at EMF’s!

    How much might one be justified in extrapolating re. contemporary Roman modis operandis from this?

  22. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Another of the first thoughts that sprang to mind (partial influence of recent Lutheran-related posts?) was tune and words of “Sheep May Safely Graze” (“Schafe können sicher weiden”) – rendered by Z. Philip Ambrose as

    Sheep may ever graze securely
    Where a worthy shepherd wakes.

    Where the rulers well are ruling,
    May one rest and peace discover
    And what nations blissful makes.

    Yet another (even pre-EMF, I think) was “and carry them, in His bosom…”.

    Both, presumably drug-free images…

  23. jameeka says:

    Thank you, TGR Fabrizio!

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    If it is not too far a fetch from ‘lapidare’ to ‘(ex)quassare’, around the internet in various contexts I seem to keep encountering ‘squashed’ where I’d expect ‘quashed’ – is that likely to occur because ‘squashed’ is more vivid, because certain software given free play substitutes it, or because there is growing unfamiliarity with ‘quashed’?

    (I don’t know if ‘exquassare’ is too Late, or too ‘vernacular’, a Latin verb, but my Vulgate concordance gives no examples, in contrast to “Calamum quassatum non conteret” (St. Isaias 43:3) and “Arundinem quassatam non confringet” (St. Matthew 12:20)…)

  25. michele421 says:

    Couldn’t they just lead, or carry the lambs to the door of the church before mass, give them a quick blessing and send them on their way? Not only would this be better stewardship, but perhaps more to the point, the people assisting at the mass would be spared the eau de barnyard and the sneezes of those allergic to sheep.

  26. JonPatrick says:

    It is always sad to see pictures of such a beautiful church and then seeing the priest offering the Mass on the Novus Ordo card table instead of a proper altar.

  27. Angela says:

    I’m with JonPatrick above – such a beautiful Church then to see Holy Mass offered on what looks like a folding table is very sad.

  28. IloveJesus says:

    “I’m with JonPatrick above – such a beautiful Church then to see Holy Mass offered on what looks like a folding table is very sad.”

    Ah, but that’s progress for you!

    “The great god “Progress” is then enthroned on the altars of fashion, and as the hectic worshippers are asked, “Progress toward what?” the tolerant comes back with “More progress.” Ven Fulton Sheen

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