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Vatican explains coat of arms of Pope Francis

March 19, 2013

The Vatican press office has provided a briefing on the coat of arms adopted by Pope Francis, which is modeled closely on his episcopal coat of arms.

A bright blue shield bears the inscription "IHS," which is a symbol for Christ and also the Jesuit logo. Below are a star, representing the Virgin Mary; and a flower representing St. Joseph. Above the shield are a papal miter and crossed keys.

The Pope's motto, Miserando atque eligendo, ("lowly but chosen") refers to the Gospel account of the calling of St. Matthew. It was on the feast of St. Matthew, when he was 17 years old, that Jorge Mario Bergoglio felt a special call to serve God in the priesthood.


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