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Pope Francis chooses ring, coat of arms and motto

March 18, 2013|By Henry Chu
  • Preparations are underway in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on Monday for the inauguration Mass of Pope Francis.
Preparations are underway in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on… (Andrea Solero / European…)

ROME – Pope Francis, the first pontiff from the New World, has decided to remember his roots by choosing a personal coat of arms that recalls his career as a cleric in Argentina, the Vatican said Monday.

Francis opted to keep the same coat of arms that he used as the archbishop of Buenos Aires before his election as pope but with the addition of the golden papal miter and the crossed keys that unlock the kingdom of God. The shield from his days as archbishop features a logo of the Jesuit order to which he belongs, a golden star symbolizing the Virgin Mary and a flower representing St. Joseph.

The pope’s motto will be “miserando atque eligendo” (Latin for “because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him”), a phrase taken from a homily by the Venerable Bede, an 8th century English monk, describing Jesus’ call to Matthew to follow him. For Francis, the phrase evokes his own calling to become a priest, which he felt as a 17-year-old, the Vatican said.

And the pope has now chosen his personal ring: a band of silver and gold that once belonged to the personal secretary to Pope Paul VI.

The ring will be presented to him Tuesday at his official installation, which the Vatican said would be attended by 31 heads of state, six monarchs and government leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Vice President Joe Biden will represent the United States.

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