Vol. XIX, No. 5
Pope Francis blesses statue of Saint Michael Archangel,
Consecrates Vatican City State to Saints Michael and Joseph
Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI met in the Vatican Gardens for the ceremonial blessing of a new statue of Saint Michael Archangel, and to consecrate the Vatican City State to Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Joseph. The consecration ceremony took place on July 5.
This was the second time the two popes have publicly met. The bronze statue, the work of artist Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio, had been commissioned by Pope Benedict.
After brief greetings from Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City, and an address from Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president emeritus of the Governorate, Pope Francis addressed the group of Vatican workers in attendance. He noted how Saint Michael defends the People of God from its enemy, the devil. Pope Francis said:
In the Vatican Gardens there are several works of art. But this, which has now been added, takes on particular importance, in its location as well as the meaning it expresses. In fact it is not just celebratory work but an invitation to reflection and prayer, that fits well into the Year of Faith. Michael — which means “Who is like God” — is the champion of the primacy of God, of His transcendence and power. Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from His enemies, above all by the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is the God who acts. This sculpture reminds us then that evil is overcome, the accuser is unmasked, his head crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the blood of Christ. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger, it is His victory and His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him.
We also consecrate Vatican City State [to] Saint Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask him to protect [and] take care of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day.
(Translation – Radio Vaticana: radiovaticana.va)
The pope then recited the prayers for consecration, for Saint Joseph and Saint Michael Archangel, sprinkled holy water on the new monument, and imparted his blessing upon those present.
Only a few days earlier, on June 19, the name of Saint Joseph was added to Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV.