What strikes you when first confronted by Angels Unawares on the plaza of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is the weight of the thing. Timothy Schmalz’s bronze sculpture, 20-feet long and 12 feet high, weighs 3.8 tons and looks every ounce of it.
Solid, almost blocky, it appears lacking in subtlety and any discernible method of moving it, so much so that a likely first impression is, “How did that get here?”
But spend a moment, and the dark block quickly reveals itself; softening, splintering into a global collection of people packed aboard a simple raft. Call them immigrants or refugees, they comprise a range of races and nationalities, circumstances, and time periods, their faces reflecting the anxiety and fear that results when one’s humanity has been reduced to the “other.”
And just as suddenly, first impressions give way to realizations that here, Los Angeles, named after angels and reputed to be among the world’s most diverse cities, is the most natural place for “Angels” to land.
Archbishop José Gomez told Angelus that it is “fitting” that the North American casting of the sculpture has come to Los Angeles first….
Himself an immigrant to the U.S., the Mexican-born archbishop recalled the local Church’s role in providing a safe haven for Catholics escaping the anticlerical violence of the Mexican Revolution in the 1920s, and its continued efforts to welcome refugees and migrants up to today.
The first iteration of the statue was unveiled Sept. 29, 2019, at St. Peter’s Square in Rome — where it will remain indefinitely — during the 105th World Migrant and Refugee Day….
Angels Unawares will remain at the cathedral until arrangements are made for its transport to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The statue will visit other cities and, there is a possibility that, one day, it will return to Los Angeles….
The above comes from an Aug. 28 story in Angelus News.
Since this statue is about immigrants, maybe Archbishop Gomez will do a better job of protecting it from hordes of mostly peaceful protesters.
Los Angeles was not named after angels.
There is a debate as to:
Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula — Our Lady of the Angels of the Porciuncula
El Pueblo (might be Pueblos) de la Reyna de Los Angeles — The Town (might be towns) of the Queen of the Angels
El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles de Porciuncula — The Town of Our Lady of the Angels of the Porciuncula
And a few other choices.
Ah! history why do you have to be so complicated. Probably because all the names were used by someone at times.
The anonymous post at 3:15 pm was mine — Anne TE
“Art” sure isn’t what it used to be.
Sculptor Schmaltz’s name is spelled wrong. :)
The style of artwork is definitely in keeping with the Cathedral’s architecture.
Clever idea of subliminally portraying military-age Moslem male refugees as Angels in Disguise. Touché. Anglos Unaware.
The name I learned is ‘El Pueblo de Nuestra Senoira Reina [Queen] de Los Angeles
Don’t claim to be an expert but I’ll throw it in for what it’s worth.
That seems to be the most beautiful one I think — The Town of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels. Of course Los Angeles is no longer just a town. Maybe it should now be called “El Ciudad de Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles”. (Hope I got all the spelling right — can’t do the accent marks.) That would be a mouthful though, so that is probably why it has been reduced to just “Los Angeles”, even by Spanish speakers.
No, you didn’t Anne. It’s “La Ciudad…..”
Thank you for the correction, Larry.
in the pristine garden,
freshly made by the hand of God
our first parents entertained
a devil – the Devil
unawares – cuidado amigos
El Ciudad de la Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula.
Porciuncula is a small village outside Assisi whose run-down parish church, “Our Lady Queen of Angels” Saint Francis literally repaired in obedience to the words of the miraculous crucified Christ of San Damiano, “Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.”
Little did Saint Francis know that the Lord meant not just the physical church, but His own Mystical Body that at that time (13th century) was riddled with corruption and immorality that had to be repaired.
The little church that Francis repaired with his own hands is now enclosed in marble and preserved in the sanctuary of a large basilica built on the original site now called, “Our Lady Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula Basilica”, one of the largest basilicas in Italy.
Francis loved that little church and made it the headquarter of his own fledging Order, the Order of Friars Minor. Saint Junipero Serra and his companions named the City of Los Angeles in honor of the little church of the Queen of Angels in Porciuncula.
I’m sorry. Correction: It should be “El Pueblo” not “El cuidad.”
Thank you, Marietta, for that most interesting history.