Bishop Manetti

The arms (above) of the Most Rev. Stefano Manetti, installed April 13 as the Bishop of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza, Italy. The wavy line is a reference to the waters of baptism; the star to Our Lady and the scallop shell to the pilgrim journey of faith. Very nice!


Bishop Scharfenberger of Albany

Thanks to the tireless efforts of one of my intrepid readers we see below the coat of arms of Edward Bernard Scharfenberger who will be ordained and installed today as the 10th Bishop of Albany, NY. The design of his arms is simple and clear and borrows from the arms associated with a family called Scharfenberger (the mountains). The star of David represents his mother, Miriam, who was of Jewish origin. The wavy lines allude to the various rivers associated with the bishop’s life and the golden feather in base is an allusion to both the Holy Spirit and the native Americans of upstate NY. My criticism would have to do mostly with this particular artistic rendering and so, I will refrain from commenting further as that is often simply a matter of taste. The beaver holding a crozier in the arms of the see come from the fact that the original name of Albany was “Beaverwyck” as it was a major outpost on the trade route for traders. It holds a crozier as an indication of Albany as the seat of a bishop. The crescent alludes to the Immaculate Conception, the titular of the cathedral church.



New Bishop of Derry, Ireland

The Most Rev. Donal McKeown will be installed April 6 as the new bishop of Derry, Ireland. His arms (below) are briefly described on the diocesan website: The Bishop’s coat of arms takes some elements from the traditional McKeown family symbols – the salmon, which is an ancient Irish symbol of wisdom, and the red hand. However, the simple penal crosses now flank the One whose hands were pierced for the world’s salvation. The salmon reflects the words of the prophet Isaiah, who said “with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Is 12:3).

The Bishop’s motto “Veritas in Caritate” occurs in the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (4:15).


Bishop of Porto, Portugal


The arms (above) of António Francisco dos Santos, newly installed bishop of Porto, Portugal. It is a simple and elegant design. Some would be critical of the green collé on a blue field but the so-called “tincture rule” isn’t so much a hard and fast rule as much as it is a custom as frequently honored in the breach than in the observance. Read Bruno Heim’s book, “Or and Argent” if you don’t believe me. My only criticism would be that the episcopal cross behind the shield is depicted as a teeny tiny one. It could be larger. I also find the choice of an oval shield (usually used by women in heraldry) as interesting, but not necessarily wrong as its use is not exclusive to females.


Bishop Myron Cotta

Earlier today the Most Rev. Myron Cotta was ordained as the Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento, California. His newly assumed arms are below.


The field is divided by an inverted chevron alluding to a carpenter’s square for St. Joseph and the San Joaquin Valley. In chief there is an amphora charged with the letters “SC” for sacred chrism. The bishop’s given name, Myron, is the Greek word for the sacred oil.

In base there appears a monogram composed of the letters “I”, “M” and “H”. This stands for (if you can believe it) the Immaculate heart of Mary with the “M” taking the most prominent place. The bishop has a great devotion to Our Lady under this title.

The motto translates to “Grace and Mercy” and is in Portuguese to reflect the bishop’s ethnicity as being from the Azores.

Well, there is an overabundance of the use of letters in this achievement. Someone clearly never heard that the use of letters in heraldry is considered port design. The “SC” on the amphora is, in my opinion, unnecessary. The amphora alone is a sufficient symbol for sacred oil. Why not actually depict the Immaculate Heart of Mary instead of abbreviating it? The monogram is an example of extremely poor design. It’s weak and not self evident where the image of the Immaculate heart would have been. In addition, since most people don’t know that the name Myron means sacred oil they will naturally assume that the gigantic “M” in the coat of arms stands for Myron and not for Mary.

This was done by Paul Sullivan. Not one of his best efforts.

Bishop Zglejszewski

The coat of arms (below) of Bishop Andrzej Zglejszewski who will be ordained titular bishop of Nicives and Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, NY on March 25. The bishop is a native of Poland but emigrated to the USA before ordination and was ordained for the Long Island diocese.


The following description is from the program of his ordination: The symbolism to be found in Bishop Zglejszewski’s coat of arms begins with the colors, also called tinctures. The major part of the shield is painted white (argent) over red (gules), which recalls the national flag and coat of arms of Poland, where the Bishop was born. The blue (azure) found in the top half of the border joins these first two tinctures to recall the national colors of the United States of America, to which he immigrated in 1987. The gold (Or) of the lower half joins the white to recall the colors of the Vatican City-State. Blue and gold, together recalling the sea and sand of the island diocese, are the primary tinctures of the coat of arms of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, where he was ordained a priest in 1990 and which he will now serve as Auxiliary Bishop. The color blue at the top of the shield recalls that Mary is Queen of Heaven and Help of Christians, who spreads her protective mantle over her children. Our Lady is also symbolized by the fleur-de-lis at the bottom of the shield. This stylized lily has been used for many centuries to recall her virginal purity. Placed on the shield together with three Crosses, it alludes also to Mary, the faithful disciple, standing at the foot of the Cross of her Son on Calvary.

The saltire or “X” shape in the center of the shield is also known as Saint Andrew‟s Cross, after the Apostle who, according to tradition, was crucified on a Cross in this shape. Saint Andrew is the Bishop’s baptismal patron. Like the shield itself, the saltire is divided across the middle, in an arrangement called counterchanging: where the shield is red, it is painted white, and is red where the shield is white. This coloration allows for another layer of symbolism, in each of the parts of the saltire. The white bottom half of the saltire becomes a depiction of the carpenter‟s square, a traditional symbol of Saint Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The carpenter’s square appears to cover and protect the fleur-de-lis, symbolizing Saint Joseph’s protection both of Our Lady and of the Universal Church. The top half of the saltire, painted red, reminds one of the Holy Spirit, and the grace that he brings by his descent upon the newborn Church at Pentecost. The Bishop has dedicated much of his ministry to the study and service of Divine Worship, and this part of the saltire also recalls the grace of the Sacraments which is given to the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit and the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

The two crosses on either side of the saltire are also counterchanged, and symbolize not only the crosses on Calvary but also the passion and martyrdom of Saint Agnes, the patron of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. This heroic young woman faced martyrdom at the age of 13 in Rome; tradition says she was turned in to the authorities by suitors she had spurned because she made a vow of virginity to Christ. She bore a double cross: the “white martyrdom” of purity, and the “red martyrdom” that involved the shedding of her blood.