Pope Francis’ Coat of Arms Explained as Devotion to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

The one thing you need to know about Pope Francis’ coat of arms is that it is dedicated to the Holy Family: Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Mother, and Saint Joseph. 
Here’s is a quick list of its symbolism.

  • The IHS signifies the Holy Name of Jesus in Greek (IHSYS), and is an emblem of the Society of Jesus of which the Holy Father is a member.
  • The three nails of the crucifixion are featured as a sign of Our Lord’s Passion.

    [You may also want to read: Where did the 3 Nails of the Crucifixion Go?]

  • The blue background of the shield signifies the blue protective mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
  • The 8-pointed star symbolizes Our Lady as the Star of Sea. The number 8 represents the “eighth day” one beyond seven. Christ rose on the “eighth day” (Sunday) and His Kingdom is beyond. This is why baptismal fonts are 8-sided.
  • The golden spikenard flower represents Saint Joseph’s purity. Some have mistaken this image as a bunch of grapes, but it’s not. It’s a flower.

The shield rests on the keys of Saint Peter – the sign of the supreme and universal jurisdiction of the Pope. Traditionally, the gold key signifies ”binding in Heaven” and the silver key signifies “binding on earth.” (See Mt 16:18)
The papal motto “Miserando atque eligendo,” means “having mercy, he called him.” The phrase refers to a line in Saint Bede’s homily concerning the call of Saint Matthew the tax-collector: “Because Jesus saw him, having mercy, and chose him.” (See Mt 9:9-13)
Question: Do you like the new coat of arms of Pope Francis? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

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