Catholic Activity: Celebration for the Feast of St. Agnes
On the feast of St. Agnes on January 21 one can make a lamb cake. Agnes means lamb, and in Rome on this feast day two lambs are blessed, and the wool from these lambs are used in making the pallium, the symbols archbishops wear as sign of their authority. Included is a beautiful prayer for St. Agnes.
Note that this was written when the Christmas season ended at Candlemas Day, February 2. The Christmas season now ends after the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.
For the feast of St. Agnes a cake is baked on her feast in a lamb mold. It is frosted white and made woolly with cocoanut shreds. Raisins serve for the eyes, a half cherry for the mouth. The cake has a twofold meaning. It commemorates St. Agnes' name which means lamb or victim in Latin, and pure in Greek. It also reminds our children of the custom of placing two lambs on the altar of the Basilica where her relics lie. The animals are blessed by the abbot and sent to a cloister where they are reared. From their wool come the palliums sent by the Pope to archbishops who wear them on their shoulders as symbols of the sheep carried by the Good Shepherd.
St. Agnes is a wonderful saint for teen-agers because she remained innocent amid pagan corruption and died at thirteen rather than sully herself. Rome still keeps marked the path she trod to martyrdom.
A suitable prayer for today is from the hymn by Adam of St. Victor:
|Father:||Let us gain courage for our own battle by honoring the martyrdom of the glorious virgin Agnes. St. Agnes, vessel of honor, flower of unfading fragrance, beloved of the choirs of Angels, you are an example to the worth of virtue and chastity. O you who wear a Martyr's palm and a virgin's wreath, pray for us that, though unworthy of a special crown, we may have our names written in the list of Saints.|
Activity Source: Christmas to Candlemas in a Catholic Home by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota