Catholic Life Insurance to celebrate immigrant history at 120-yer anniversary commemoration

Catholic Life Insurance, a San Antonio-based life insurer, will remember its immigrant roots and celebrate 120 years of protecting families during its annual Flag Day celebration. The celebration takes place on Sunday, June 13, the eve of Flag Day, at the company’s headquarters at 1635 Northeast Loop 410 in San Antonio.

To honor its German immigrant founders, Catholic Life is bringing a replica of the “Angels Unawares” sculpture to San Antonio. The statue depicts a group of migrants on a boat wearing clothes that show they originate from diverse cultures and historical moments. 

Pope Francis commissioned Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz to create and install the original bronze in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican in 2019. It was the first time in 400 years that a new sculpture has adorned St Peter’s Square.

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

The 20-foot-long, 12-foot-high, and 3.8-ton replica is currently touring eight U.S. cities before being installed on the Catholic University of America campus in Washington, D.C. It will arrive at the Catholic Life Insurance headquarters on June 9 and be lifted into place by an 80-ton crane. San Antonio is the only Texas city to host the statue.

Company officials will unveil the sculpture during its 28th annual Flag Day celebration. The event will begin with a Catholic Mass on Sunday, June 13, at 5:30 p.m. The unveiling and Flag raising ceremony will follow the Mass. June 13 is an important date in San Antonio’s history as it honors the city’s founding in 1718 by Canary Islanders. The sculpture will remain in San Antonio for six weeks.

“Catholic Life was founded 120 years ago by German Catholic immigrants who wanted to protect their families from life’s hardships,” said President J. Michael Belz. “However, big insurance companies did not want to insure immigrant families, so our founders formed their own company – one of the few at that time that provided coverage to both men and women.”

While the early policyholders were primarily of German descent, Catholic Life soon became a melting pot of Polish, Czech, Irish, and Hispanic Catholics living in Texas.

Since then, Catholic Life has successfully survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, numerous recessions, and more recently, a pandemic. Through it all, the mission has been to help families secure their future with solid financial products.

Founded in 1901, Catholic Life Insurance provides life insurance and retirement products in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and New Mexico.

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