Vatican City, 5 July 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Gardens, in the palace of the Governorate, a new monument to St. Michael Archangel by the artist Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio was inaugurated in the presence of the Holy Father Francis, and Vatican City State was consecrated to Sts. Joseph and Michael Archangel. Among those present was the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, specially invited by Pope Francis, and greeted with great affection by the assistants and staff of the Governorate. The two pontiffs remained united throughout the ceremony and sat together in front of the monument.
After brief greetings from Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate, and an address from Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president emeritus of the Governorate, the Holy Father spoke.
“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. 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 … On our path and in the trials of life we are not alone, we are accompanied and sustained by the Angels of God who offer, so to say, their wings to help us to overcome many dangers, to be able to fly high compared to those aspects of life that may burden us or drag us down. We consecrate Vatican City State to St. Michael Archangel, asking him to defend us against evil and to banish it ... and to St. Joseph, Jesus' guardian, the guardian of the Holy Family, whose 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 Pope then recited the prayers for consecration, for St. Joseph and St. Michael Archangel, sprinkled holy water on the new monument, and finally imparted his blessing upon those present.