Monday, March 18, 2013

Arms of Pope Francis

Here's a little tidbit about the new Holy Father, by way of a very old tradition: the papal coat of arms. 

The Vatican Press Office released today the coat-of-arms that our new pope has requested to use as his papal coat of arms. They are actually an adaptation of the same arms he used as cardinal and archbishop of Buenos Aires. 

Cardinal Bergolio's arms as Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenos Aires:

And the newly-designed papal arms of now-Pope Francis:

As with all papal coats of arms, the escutcheon (i.e. shield) is surmounted by a papal mitre and the crossed keys of St. Peter rest behind the it. On Pope Francis' coat of arms, three symbols are displayed on a blue background (blue being in honor of the Virgin Mary): 

1) The sun with the sacred monogram IHS (i.e. the Holy Name of Jesus) with a cross and three nails. This is the symbol for the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit Order), of which Pope Francis is a member.

2) A star, an ancient symbol of the Virgin Mary as in her title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). 

3) A cluster of nard flower, a symbol of St. Joseph. 

So, on Pope Francis's arms, we see an allusion to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. And an allusion to a wonderful prayer: "Jesus, Mary and Joseph: pray for us!"