Watch the unveiling ceremony of Angels Unawares, a new four-ton bronze sculpture on the campus of The Catholic University of America.

Held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 27, the ceremony featured a blessing by the Most Rev. Wilton D. Gregory, archbishop of Washington, D.C., and University chancellor, and included remarks from University President John Garvey; artist Timothy Schmalz; Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America; Enrique Segura, vice chair of the University's Board of Trustees; Sandra Barrueco, Ph.D., director of Latin American and Latino Studies at Catholic University; and Brayan Hernandez, a junior honors student double majoring in education and politics.

The second casting of a piece in St. Peter's Square

This is a second casting of the piece created by Schmalz, a Canadian artist. The first was installed in St. Peter’s Square and unveiled by Pope Francis on Sept. 29, 2019, the 105th observance of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The unveiling and blessing of the statue at The Catholic University of America was part of the 2020 observance and occurred five years after Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the lawn at Catholic University during his visit in 2015.

The pope commissioned this sculpture to call attention to the plight of migrants and refugees and celebrate their many contributions to our society. The 20-foot-long statue depicts more than 140 migrants from across history densely packed onto a boat with the holy family. It is based on Hebrews 13:2: “Be welcoming to strangers, many have entertained angels unawares.”

“In his message for the 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis reminded us that immigration isn’t ‘just about migrants: it is about our humanity,’” University President John Garvey says. “Angels Unawares will serve as a visible reminder of our commitment to see the humanity in every person — especially those who are wandering in search of a home.”

Soon, the sculpture will tour cities throughout the United States before returning to its permanent home at the University in 2021.