Bishop O’Regan of Sale, Australia

On February 26 Patrick M. O’Regan will be ordained and installed as the IX bishop of Sale, Victoria, Australia. The ship at sea is a reference to the diocese of Bathurst where the bishop previously served as a priest. In chief are charges that allude to St. patrick and to the arms traditionally associated with families of the name O’Regan or Regan. The arms were designed by me and Mr. Richard d’Apice and rendered by Mr. Sandy Turnbull.

Image 1

Coat of Arms of Pope Pius XII (Before and After)

Much has been written in recent years about the practice of a prelate modifying the design of his coat of arms when he moves from one position to another in the Church. Generally speaking I am against the practice. A coat of arms, even an assumed one, becomes a unique personal symbol and is associated with the person who bears the arms. To change the original design simply because one is taking up a new position or ministry is ill advised.

I am, of course, not referring to marshaling the personal arms with those of a jurisdiction (see, abbey, or even a parish). When a cleric is translated from one jurisdiction to another of course he will then marshal his personal arms to those of the new jurisdiction because, after all, impaling or quartering the personal arms with those of a jurisdiction is a means of displaying two or more separate coats of arms together on one shield. The arms of a diocese do not “become” part of the bishops personal coat of arms. They are displayed along with the personal arms of the incumbent during the tenure of his office as part of the overall achievement but that is all.

Rather, I am speaking of a cleric slightly modifying or even changing entirely the design on the shield of his personal coat of arms. In some cases the change is a result of unhappiness with the design originally adopted. Sometimes it is the case that a cleric is appointed to be a bishop and wishes to make use of his new coat of arms at his episcopal ordination which may be as soon as only six weeks away. So, a design is hastily adopted. later, when being translated to a new see the bishop has had time to second guess his original arms and wishes to tweak the design or even change it altogether. While this is understandable it still should be frowned upon. His new position doesn’t mean he is becoming an entirely new person.

Yet we see that this has and continues to happen. Even no less than Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli 1939-1958) bore arms that were slightly different before and after he became pope. When a bishop and cardinal his arms depicted a dove displayed (i.e. with its wings spread) holding an olive branch in its beak. This is a reference to the name Pacelli which means “peace”. The dove was perched on a trimount and sitting below the arc of a rainbow, an allusion to the story of Noah from the Scriptures.


However, after his election to the papacy there are some differences. The dove now has folded wings and sits perched on the trimount which is depicted on field and above waves of water. In addition, the rainbow is now gone. Perhaps Pius XII felt the reference to the story of Noah was redundant or superfluous? Perhaps he wished to express a global desire for peace since he was elected at a time when the world was on the brink of World War II? Perhaps he simply liked this newer design more? We shall never know yet here is a good example of arms modified when going from one position in the Church to another.

piua xii arms in pen and ink

Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, Vermont


On January 29 Bishop Christopher Coyne, until now Auxiliary Bishop of Indianapolis and before that a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, will be installed as the 10th Bishop of Burlington, Vermont.

The dexter side of the shield (to the viewer’s left), represents the coat of arms of the Diocese of Burlington and is composed of a green field, which meets a gold chief (upper one-third of the design) at a jagged line, called “dancetty,” to give the impression of green mountain peaks, thus honoring the Green Mountain State of Vermont. Below the mountain is a golden stag’s head that is taken from the arms of Lord Cavendish, Earl of Burlington, for whom the See City is named. Between the stag’s antlers, as seen in the arms of the Archdiocese of Boston, is a golden cross fleuretty. This cross, honoring the French missionaries who first brought The Faith to the region, signifies that the first priest to be stationed in the service of the people of Vermont, Father Jeremiah O’Callaghan, was sent by Boston Bishop Benedict Fenwick.

The sinister side (to the viewers right) ‘s occupied by the personal heraldry of Bishop Coyne; upon a blue (azure) field is Bishop Coyne’s coat of arms which blends images representing his love for God, family genealogy and ministry history in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Bishop Coyne’s grandfathers were Irish and his grandmothers were French. The coat of arms reflects those two heritages with the Celtic cross and the fleur de lis. The Celtic cross also calls to mind the centrality of the cross in the history of salvation and the sacrifice of Jesus which brings redemption. The fleur de lis also represent Mary, the Mother of our Savior, and Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Finally, the blue (azure) field also calls to mind Mary, the Immaculate Conception, under whose patronage the Diocese of Burlington has been placed.

Pontifical Colleges and Scools

Pontifical College Josephinum (USA)

Image 4


Pontifical Catholic University of Sāo Paolo (Brazil)


Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)


Pontifical Lateran University (Rome)


Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Rome)


Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome)


Pontifical Scots College (Rome)


Venerable English College (Rome)


Pontifical North American College (Rome)


Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm (Rome)



Not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York or Rome! But Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana; My Home Sweet Home.


On January 6, 2015 the Most Rev. Donald J. Hying, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, former Rector of the seminary there and, since 2011, Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee will be installed as the IV Bishop of the diocese of Gary, Indiana.

The Bishop’s coat of arms (above) depicting the arms of the See (dexter) which allude to the titular patron of the cathedral of the Holy Angels and his personal arms (sinister) which allude, in part, to the arms of the See of Milwaukee.

The motto translates to “Love never fails”. (1 Cor: 13)

(artwork by Paul Sullivan)