The New Papal Coat of Arms and Motto

Here is Papa Francesco’s papal coat of arms.

His coat of arms is simple in style, with the bishop’s miter at the top. As in all papal coat of arms, the papal keys, one gold the other silver, cross and are threaded by a red cincture or rope. The sun with the letters IHS in the center is the symbol of the Jesuit order. It is superimposed upon the cross with three black nails under the H. Below this are two symbols: the star represents the Blessed Mother and what looks like a cluster of grapes is in fact nard used in burial ceremonies during biblical times and has historically represented St. Joseph, spouse of Mary and step-father of Jesus.

You will notice near the bottom his motto: miserando atque eligendo. Translated, this means lowly yet chosen. Pope Francis took thisĀ motto from a homily given by St. Bede in which Bede commented on the calling of St. Matthew where we read, “Jesus saw a pubblican and he looked at him with love and chose him, saying, “Follow me.” Bede’s homily spoke of God’s mercy, which the Holy Father has found to have a special significance in his spiritual life. When Papa Francesco was 17 years old, he experienced the loving presence of God in his life. He felt God’s mercy descend upon him after a confession which in turn led him to pursure a religious life after the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola who had a similar experience. After the pope was elected bishop, in memory of this event in his life, he chose this expression, miserando atque eligendo, as his motto which he has carried over now into his papacy.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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