By Deborah Castellano Lubov

The Holy Family in “Angels Unawares” has been illuminated in Vatican City, and Brooklyn.

On Sept. 29, 2019, on the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the work of the Canadian artist and sculptor Timothy Schmalz was unveiled by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.

An identical cast of the same sculpture is “visiting” the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York. First unveiled on Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, it is illuminated in a similar way to the Vatican’s.

On Friday Dec. 11, the Vatican inaugurated this year’s Nativity scene and Christmas tree. At the same time, the Holy Family — amongst the migrants and refugees of all times in the “Angels Unawares” sculpture– was illuminated.

Depicting a vessel with nearly 150 migrants and refugees from historic periods, different cultural and racial backgrounds, the bronze sculpture spotlights the three figures of the Holy Family, Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.

The work, according to a press release from the Vatican’s Migrants & Refugees Section, highlights the meaning of Christmas and recalls that Jesus, along with Mary and Joseph, were forced to flee to save his life and migrated to safety in Egypt.

The illuminations across the pond are a gesture of twinning which the current time of pandemic needs, when all around the world people are waiting, interconnected and seeking hope.

Pope Francis, during his Extraordinary Urbi et Orbi in a pouring St. Peter’s Square, praying to end the pandemic, on March 27, 2020, reminded: “We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”

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