Pope Francis: Papal Coat of Arms

Pope Francis’ Coat of Arms

PopeFrancisCoatArmsPope Francis’ papal coat of arms are the same that he used as bishop. The shield has a bright blue background, at the center top of which is a yellow radiant sun with the IHS christogram representing Jesus (it is also the Jesuit logo). The IHS monogram, as well as a cross that pierces the “H”, are in red with three black nails directly under them. Under that, to the left, is a star representing Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church. To the right of the star is a spikenard flower representing Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. With these symbols the Pope demonstrates his love for the Holy Family. Continue reading

Pope Francis and the Spirit of LaVerna

On May 8, 1213, St. Francis of Assisi was given a mountain.  Count Orlando of Chiusi gave La Verna to Francis and his friar brothers as a retreat especially for prayer and contemplation.  Five year later in 1218 Count Orlando built the friars the chapel Santa Maria degli Angeli (St Mary of the Angels).


In September of 1993, Pope John Paul II went to La Verna for prayer, contemplation and to meet with the bishops of Tuscany.  During lunch while John Paul II was speaking with the friar brothers and bishops, he said here at both La Verna and Assisi, Franciscanism was born and in a certain way Christianity too by rediscovering the simplicity and fervor of the beginnings.

Sunday, May 17, 2013, the the Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, in greeting Pope Francis at the beginning of the celebration of Mass at St. Anna’s Parish, recalled the words of John Paul II – and said that is what is happening with his election.  In the taking of the name “Francis” we all reminded of the need to rediscover Christianity by rediscovering the simplicity and fervor of our faith.

There is a moment when Francis of Assisi called together his friar brothers – men who had already accomplished so much.  He told them: “Up to now we have done nothing…. Let us begin again and do what is ours to do.

May we be blessed to do what is ours to do – as we pray for Pope Francis to do what is his.

Francis of Assisi: A Sacramental View of Nature

Over the last few weeks, we described Francis of Assisi in the role in which he is most popularly recognizable: the lover of nature and animals. Interestingly, this role is not original in the Christian tradition. In a valuable book reviewing the nature stories of Franciscan literature, Edward Armstrong shows that many of Francis’ attitudes have precedents in biblical, early Christian, and medieval ideas about nature. One group of scholars place Francis in the tradition of hermits who retired to wilderness and befriended animals. Others associate him with a theological trend, unfortunately not dominant, which affirms creation as containing intrinsic value. Most see the stories about Francis as having precedents in the already-known lives of saints, although they may have been true of Francis as well. Continue reading