PAPAL GIFTS TO CHURCH IN THAILAND
Monstrance. Gift offered to the Parish priest of the Shrine to Blessed Nicolas Bunkerd.
Made of gilded metal as part of the modern manufacture of artistic objects for the liturgy, this monstrance shows elegant workmanship with a baroque flavor. Indeed, it is embellished with a series of decorative elements: in acanthus racemes, which not only frame the receptacle, but make the sunburst that surrounds the Body of Christ appear richer and brighter.
While the base is richly engraved but aniconic, the tall stem that supports the sunburst is instead a sort of elegant multifaceted pillar, with corners softened by the acanthus leaves. At the top of the same stem the leaves open up like a fan, from which some ears of wheat emerge, connected to the bunches of grapes held higher up by two fluttering angels.
While the ears of wheat refer to the “Passion” of Christ, from which the fruit of the “Resurrection” comes, the bunches of grapes instead recall the very essence of the duty of every good Christian to worship the Blessed Sacrament regularly.
Even the crown that surmounts the sunburst has a specific Christological meaning, since He is indicated in the Holy Scriptures as “Christ, King of Israel”, the “King of kings”, the “King of the Earth” and “King of nations”, although the essence of His incarnation lies in His announcement of the “Kingdom of Heaven”.
Below are images and description of the two gifts that Pope Francis gave to the apostolic nunciature in Bangkok upon completing his journey to Thailand
Cast of the Medal. Gift offered to the Apostolic Nunciature. On the left of the medal there is an image of Mary Assumed into Heaven, patroness of the Church in Thailand and, on the right, that of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus, venerated in Japan with the title of Virgo de Inventione Christianorum.
At the center of the two figures there is the cross and, above it, a palm leaf symbolizing martyrdom.
Around the border of the medal there are 33 seeds, each one of which contains the initial of the name of one of the martyrs: 26 of Japan and 7 of Thailand.
At the bottom there is the inscription of the Apostolic Trip and the date.
Artist: Daniela Longo
Mosaic of the coat of arms of Pope Francis. Gift offered to the Apostolic Nunciature. Entirely produced in mosaic using the traditional system of the manual cutting and setting of each individual colored tile, this panel depicts the coat of arms of His Holiness Pope Francis.
At the top of the papal coat of arms is the symbol of the Society of Jesus. It is composed of a radiant and flaming sun, in which there is the acronym IHS, and above it, a cross with three nails at its base. The acronym IHS lends itself to interpretation as Iesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus, Saviour of Humanity), or In Hoc Signo (Vinces), of Constantinian memory; whereas subsequently the Jesuits interpreted it as Habemus Iesum Socium (We have Jesus as Companion) and Societas Iesu humilis (Humble Society of Jesus). Aside from the symbol of the Society of Jesus, there is also a star, which according to heraldic tradition symbolizes the Virgin Mary, and the spikenard flower, which in Hispanic iconography refers to the chastity of Saint Joseph.
By selecting these symbols for his coat of arms, Pope Francis thus wished to express not only his particular devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and his belonging to the Jesuits, but also his devotion to the Virgin Mary and to Saint Joseph, her spouse. The motto accompanying Pope Francis’ coat of arms – Miserando atque eligendo – instead pays homage to divine mercy. It is taken from the Homilies of Saint Bede the Venerable who, commenting on the Gospel episode of the vocation of Saint Matthew, wrote: Vidit ergo Iesus publicanum et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi Sequere me (Jesus saw a tax collector and, as he looked at him with sentiment of love and chose him, He said to him, Follow me).