“Angels Unawares” Sculpture To Be Blessed and Installed at The Catholic University of America as part of World Day for Migrants and Refugees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A second casting of the piece “Angels Unawares,” a 20-foot-tall bronze statue commemorating migrants and refugees, is in the United States.

On Sunday, September 27 at 1 p.m., as part of this year’s World Day for Migrants and Refugees, The Catholic University of America Chancellor, Archbishop of Washington Wilton D. Gregory, will join University President John Garvey for an unveiling and blessing of the “Angels Unawares” statue before the start of its American tour.

The first casting was installed in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican last year as part of the annual World Day for Migrants and Refugees. This casting of the sculpture, done by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, who will also attend and give remarks, will go on tour throughout the United States, before ultimately making its permanent home at The Catholic University of America.

The “Angels Unawares” statue depicts migrants and refugees on a boat wearing clothes that represent their diverse cultures and the historical moments that have led to people being displaced. Schmalz said the statue is based on Hebrews 13:2 which states, “Be welcoming to strangers, many have entertained angels unawares.”

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington and Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration issued the following statement on the installation of the sculpture:

“This important piece of art symbolizes the continued vulnerability of immigrants and refugees of the past and the present. It also highlights the culturally rich contributions immigrants and refugees have brought and continue to bring to all of us. It is a reflection of the times and shows that there is still much more work to be done to protect our brothers and sisters in need.”

Bishop Dorsonville continues, “For the people of the Archdiocese of Washington, ‘Angels Unawares’ is a wonderful testimony to the public commitment of the Catholic Church to follow the example of the Holy Father Pope Francis: to welcome, protect, promote and integrate immigrants and refugees.”

This event will be livestreamed via the University’s Division of Advancement website at engage.catholic.edu/angels-unawares.

Please direct any media inquiries to The Catholic University of America’s Office of Marketing and Communications at [email protected] or 202-319-5600. Due to capacity restrictions, media are encouraged to cover the event via livestream.

Photos of the sculpture, access to the livestream, and details of the ceremony will be available for media use after the event.

For more information about the World Day for Migrants and Refugees commemorations in the United States see the Justice for Immigrants webpage.

To learn more about the World Day for Migrants and Refugees see the Vatican Dicastry of Migrants and Refugees.

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