This coming December 13, Pope Francis will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his Ordination to the priesthood. To mark the occasion, on Monday, November 4, 2019, the Vatican’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office issued two stamps, which reproduce two paintings made by Spanish painter Raul Berzosa.
The first of the stamps, with the value of 1.10 euros, reproduces a portrait of “Young Jorge Bergoglio,” reported the Diocese of Malaga, Spain. “The joy of that December 13, 1969, eve of the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday or Sunday of Joy), when he was ordained priest,” explains the painter, commenting on the portrait.
Painted on the left side of the portrait is the Basilica of Saint Joseph of Flores, because Bergoglio, walking on a spring day, passed by the Church of the neighborhood of Flores and went it to go to Confession. ”It was there that he felt God was calling him” and “he left with the conviction to embrace the priesthood,” said the Malaga artist.
On the right, is one of Bergoglio’s “great devotions, which has accompanied him up to today, the ‘Virgin Undoer of Knots.’ He took <the image> to Buenos Aires after learning her title during one of his trips to Germany. Bluish colors predominate on the canvas in reference to Argentina,” explained Berzosa.
The second stamp, with the value of 1.15 euros, has a printed image of “Pope Francis, representing him as Pontiff. Raul Berzosa pointed out that the painting “is dedicated to Mercy.”
Francis is represented in a frontal way blessing the onlooker,” commented the painter. “Next to him is the Christ of Mercy, another of his great devotions, which was reflected in his convocation of the extraordinary holy year known as the Year of Mercy. On the left is the front of the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Basilica. The colors of the Vatican, ochre, and white, predominate.”
Works Inspired in Francis
The artist mentioned that this isn’t the first time the Vatican commissioned him to do a painting to commemorate an event of Pope Francis. In 2016 he was commissioned to do a painting to celebrate the Pope’s 80th birthday. “Other paintings that have served to illustrate stamps are the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio; the commemoration of the fifth centenary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Saint Philip Neri” and Easter 2018.
Moreover, many of Berzosa’s works have illustrated the covers of libretti of ceremonies at Saint Peter’s in the Vatican and this year 2019, the Via Crucis at the Colosseum, presided over by Pope Francis, detailed the Diocese of Malaga.