Celebrating his 78th birthday in the Vatican, Nov 25, Pope John XXIII presided at the Agnus Dei blessing.
Celebrating his 78th birthday in the Vatican, Nov 25, Pope John XXIII presided at the Agnus Dei blessing. Usually performed every five years, this ceremony was for the first time held in the presence of pressmen and photographers.
Agnus Dei (Lambs of God) are wax medallions bearing images of a lamb on one side, and of a saint on the other. Traditionally prepared by Cistercian monks of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, they are blessed by the Pontiff with special rites, and later distributed to the faithful, who hold them in great veneration as pledges of Divine protection.
Throughout the day, the Holy Father received messages of congratulation from various parts of the world. In the Vatican Hall of Benediction, Pope John told well-wishers: "When you reach 78 you say this is a dangerously advanced age. You are too. We will meet at the Gates to Heaven, and beyond."