Pope Francis's Coat of Arms & A CCD Lesson


With our new Pope comes a new Papal Coat of Arms.  It has been a centuries-old tradition for Popes to do this.  In the past, their coat of arms would often be their family shield.  In more recent years, Popes have designed their own, selecting symbols that represents their style/hopes/ideals of Papal leadership.  

Symbolisms of Pope Francis's Coat of Arms
The background of the coat of arms is a pretty standard Vatican symbol: the mitre, two keys and red cord.

Mitre
The white and yellow top part symbolize the mitre ... the liturgical head covering for the Pope.  The three sections of white and yellow/gold symbolize order, jurisdiction and magisterium.  They could also represent the Holy Trinity.  The two bands extending from the back of the mitre likely portray what are known as "lappets," typically fringed as the ends.

Keys
The keys represent Jesus giving Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19) and how this authority has been passed on from one Pope to the next to the next to the next ....  Typically one is gold - representing the power in heaven - and the other is silver - to represent the Pope's spiritual authority on earth.  The two keys are arranged in the shape of a St. Andrew's Cross.

Red Cord
The cord that unites the keys suggests a bond between the Pope's devotion to heaven and his authority on earth.

Jesuit Logo
In the center of the blue shield you can find the Jesuit logo ... the trigram, IHS, a Greek representation of the name of Jesus.  It also includes a cross, three nails and is embedded within a radiant sun.
 
Star
The star toward to bottom left of the shield symbolizes Mary. 

Nard
The yellow bunch-of-grapes-looking object to the bottom right of the shield is actually a nard - a lesser-known symbol of St. Joseph.


The blend of the representations of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph together demonstrate a devotion to and spiritual reliance on the Holy Family.

Motto of Pope Francis
Just beneath the artistic part of the Coat of Arms is Pope Francis's motto:

 
miserando atque eligendo
 
which is Latin for: 
 
by having mercy, by choosing him 
 
Pope Francis felt inspiration from a homily by the Venerable Bede that discussed the story of the calling of the tax collector Matthew (a.k.a. Levi); how despite being a disliked and rather untrusted tax collector, Jesus nonetheless selected Matthew to be an apostle.


 
A Coat of Arms CCD Lesson
I feel a CCD lesson in this.  It seems like a nice way to help CCD kids get to know Pope Francis a little bit better, by explaining and discussing his chosen coat of arms.  As a follow-up, the kids could make their own coat of arms (hopefully with some spiritual significance!).  Here's a site with a lesson plan (that you should certainly adapt to meet your style of instruction and materials available) that helps kids to make their own coat of arms: 
 
 

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