In November 2020, the 20-foot-long, 3.5-ton sculpture Angels Unawares began a national tour. Through this pilgrimage, people across the country had the opportunity to share in its message of welcome and hope.

The sculpture — a gift to the University — is the second casting of a piece commissioned by Pope Francis and created by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz. The original is located in St. Peter’s Square.

In April 2022, Angels Unawares will be permanently installed in a beautiful new plaza between Fr. O'Connell Hall and Gibbons Hall on the campus of The Catholic University of America.

Tour stops

View images and videos from each city

Chicago (September 2021)


“We welcome the Angels Unawares sculpture on Loyola University’s Lake Shore Drive Campus, a reminder of the Church’s teachings supporting migrants and refugees. May we respond generously to their needs.”

—Blase Cardinal Cupich, archbishop of Chicago

Minneapolis (August 2021)

CatholicU community members in Minneapolis

On Friday, August 13, we celebrated with members of the CatholicU community in the Minneapolis region. Read more.


“Look with compassion on refugees and exiles, on segregated persons and unlost children, restore them, we pray, to a homeland, and give us a kind heart for the needy and for strangers.”

—Donald J. Hying, bishop of Madison

Napa, Calif. (July 2021)

Tim Busch speaks about Angels Unawares in Napa

A priest speaks in Napa about Angels Unawares

“The church redoubles its commitment to the Justice for Immigrants initiative and to recognizing the human dignity and rights of immigrants and refugees and the promotion of legalization and legislative reform.”

—José H. Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles, and Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington

San Antonio (June and July 2021)

Belz with Angels Unawares

“San Antonio was built by people from different backgrounds and those fleeing violence and persecution for freedom and peace. We have been blessed because we have heeded Christ’s call to welcome the stranger. Our faith reminds us that we are one human family.”

—Gustavo García-Siller, archbishop of San Antonio

New Orleans (April and May 2021)


“We are related to them. It's not just a sculpture of people, but we can literally look at that and see, ‘that's part of my history in that boat.’”

—Gregory Aymond, archbishop of New Orleans

Miami (February and March 2021)


“The history of these United States – and of our South Florida community – is also the history of migration. It is your history; it is my history; it is our history. And as this work of art depicts so eloquently: We all are in the same boat.”

—Thomas Wenski, archbishop of Miami

Atlanta (January 2021)

“At the sculpture’s installation in Rome, Pope Frances said he wanted the sculpture ‘to remind everyone of the evangelical challenge of hospitality.’ We hope to do the same."

—Carolyn Johnson, Georgia chapter co-leader, Georgia Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums

New York City (December 2020)


“It is a symbol of what we want to be, and what we have been in the past, and what the future holds for us if we hold to our values as Americans. This has truly been a land where everyone has a stake.”

—Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn

Boston (November 2020)


“You see people constantly walking around and taking pictures of it, trying to identify different people. The 140 figures… the Holy Family, the Rabbi, the slave… there is a real sense of people on the move, and as an artwork, it's getting a great reception.”

— Father James Keenan, the Canisius Professor of theology at Boston College

Washington, D.C. (October 2020)


“Opening ourselves to others does not lead to impoverishment, but rather enrichment, because it enables us to be more human: to recognize ourselves as participants in a greater collectivity and to understand our lives as a gift for others: to see as the goal, not our own interests, but rather the good of humanity.”

—Brayan Hernandez, Class of 2022, Catholic University
Read our stories about "Angels Unawares"
Immigrant Family Separation: Past and Present
April 14, 2021 Read More
"Angels Unawares" artist discusses sculpture with alumni
January 14, 2021
In December, Kevin Ryan, B.A. 1989, joined Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw, M.A. 1988, and dean of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art, for a discussion of the statue with the Canadian artist who created Angels Unawares, Timothy Schmalz.
Read More
“Angels Unawares” – Journey to Catholic University
September 30, 2020
“Angels Unawares,” was intricately sculpted and cast in four tons of bronze by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz. An anonymous patron and Schmalz gifted the piece — based on Hebrews 13:2: “Be welcoming to strangers, many have entertained angels unawares.” — to The Catholic University of America.
Read More