A new statue dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel was unveiled this morning at the Vatican Gardens and inaugurated in the presence of Pope Francis. Notably present was Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who, according to communique released by the Holy See, “was specially invited by Pope Francis.”
“[Benedict XVI] was greeted with great affection by the assistants and staff of the Governorate,” the communique stated. “The two pontiffs remained united throughout the ceremony and sat together in front of the monument.”
Pope Francis addressed those present at the unveiling and spoke on the significance of the artistic representation of the Archangel Michael.
“In the Vatican Gardens there are many works of art, joined today by this one which however takes a position of particular importance, both for its location and for the meaning it expresses,” Pope Francis said.
“Indeed, it is not merely a celebratory work, but rather an invitation to reflection and prayer, which fits well into this Year of Faith. Michael, which means ‘Who is like God?’, is the example of God’s primacy, of his transcendence and power. Michael fights to re-establish divine justice; he defends the People of God from enemies and above all from the greatest enemy of all, the devil. And St. Michael is victorious because God acts in him. This sculpture reminds us that evil is vanquished.
Pope Francis emphasized the role that the Angels of God play in accompanying and sustaining all in life’s path and trials. The Holy Father went on to consecrate Vatican City State to St. Michael “asking him to defend us against evil and to banish it.” The Holy Father also consecrated Vatican City to St. Joseph so that his presence “strengthens us and gives us the courage to make space for God in our lives in order that good may always vanquish evil.”
The inauguration concluded with the Holy Father reciting the prayers of consecration to both Saints and blessed the statue with Holy Water before imparting his final blessing on those present.