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San Antonio only city in Texas to host statue that debuted at Vatican before pandemic

The second-casting of "Angels Unawares" is on display for six weeks in Texas and San Antonio is the only city to host it.

SAN ANTONIO — A piece of history is making its way through the U.S. with its only stop in Texas being San Antonio. It's a second casting of the "Angels Unawares" sculpture that made its debut at the Vatican right before the pandemic.

The 20-foot-long, 12-foot-high, 3.8-ton replica was dropped off on June 9 in front of the Catholic Life Insurance headquarters, located off Loop 410, just east of the airport. The statue is being unveiled officially on Sunday, June 13.

The event is open to the public and will start off with a mass at 5:30 p.m., the unveiling at 6:30 p.m. and a flag raising at 7 p.m. outside of the Catholic Life Insurance building, located at 1635 Northeast Loop 410.

According to a press release about the artwork, the statue features “a group of migrants on a boat wearing clothes that show they originate from diverse cultures and historical moments.” In 2019, Pope Francis commissioned Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz to create and install the original bronze in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. It was the first time in 400 years that a new sculpture had been installed in St. Peter's Square.

The sculpture derives its name from the New Testament, Hebrews 13:2: "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

“We are delighted that Catholic Life Insurance is hosting “Angels Unawares” on its U.S. tour, said Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller. “They are providing us a wonderful opportunity by showcasing the statue here in San Antonio. This beautiful sculpture highlights immigration over spans of history, but it’s just not a story of the past, it is also what’s happening currently. People continue to search for freedom and better lives for themselves and their families. 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.”

“Angels Unawares” will be in San Antonio for six weeks before moving on to seven other U.S. cities. Then it will be installed on the Catholic University of America campus in Washington, D.C.