Vatican City

Pope confirms bishop's coat of arms, ring and motto

Symbols of papacy chosen reflect simplicity

Pope confirms bishop's coat of arms, ring and motto

(By Kate Carlisle)Vatican City, March 18 - Pope Francis has chosen his papacy's coat of arms, Piscatory ring and motto that will accompany him throughout his years as the 266th pontiff and leader of the Catholic world. The former archbishop of Buenos Aires chose a simple gold-plated silver model ring, one of the vestments of the papacy, that will be presented to him during the religious celebration of his inauguration on Tuesday at St Peter's. The newly elected pontiff chose a ring, traditionally cast in pure gold, that was crafted by the late designer Enrico Manfrini. Known as the 'the pope's sculptor', Italian goldsmith Manfrini died in 2004. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi explained that the ring that bears the image of St Peter with the keys was previously owned by the private secretary of Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Pasquale Macchi. The Piscatory ring, or Ring of the Fisherman, depicts St Peter fishing from the side of a boat and until 1842 served as the official signet to seal papal documents. Upon becoming pope in 2005, Benedict chose to reintroduce it as his daily-wear ring, a gesture that the goldsmith who made the papal ring, Claudio Franchi, called an example of the conservative pope's desire to "reintroduce something of value from the past". The newly elected pope's coat of arms is equally as simple, composed of a gold star representing the Virgin Mary, a grape-like plant called the nardo that is often used to represent St Joseph, and the emblem of Francis' Jesuit order. The nardo and star are painted on a on a bright blue background and together the three represent Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is the same coat of arms he used as archbishop of Buenos Aires, with its status elevated by the symbols of the papacy, a bishops' miter and gold and silver-crossed keys. Underneath the crest reads "miserando atque eligendo" or "lowly and yet chosen" and like the coat of arms itself is a carry over from his time as archbishop of the Argentine capital. Pope Francis has also chosen his personal secretary, Gozitan priest, Monsignor Alfred Xuereb. Sources said that the 54-year-old clergyman from Malta was called to meet the new pontiff last Friday, two days after Cardinal Bergoglio was chosen as Pope. The meeting reportedly took place at the Vatican's Domus Santa Marta where Pope Francis is staying until his permanent residence is ready. Xuereb was Benedict XVI's second secretary and worked closely with Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, who was the former pope's personal secretary until his resignation on February 28.

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