This morning the pope appointed Bernard Hebda, a Pittsburgh priest serving until now as bishop of Gaylord, Michigan to be the Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark, NJ. He will be serving in assistance to the current Archbishop, John Myers (age 72) and will immediately succeed him upon Myers’ resignation, whenever that comes sometime in the next three years. A coadjutor (arch)bishop shares in the governance of the diocese and, unlike an auxiliary bishop, automatically succeeds to the See upon the death or retirement of the previous diocesan (arch)bishop.
The coat of arms that Bishop Hebda will use during his time as coadjutor are pictured above. It is composed only of the personal arms he assumed at the time he became a bishop in 2009. It is not the custom for a coadjutor to combine his personal coat of arms with the coat of arms of the diocese on the same shield as a diocesan bishop does.
Archbishop Hebda’s personal arms use as the primary charge an elderberry tree which alludes to his surname, Hebda, itself similar to “ bez hebd ”, the Polish term for the type of elderberry tree that is widespread in the area of Southeastern Poland from which Bishop Hebda’s paternal grandparents emigrated. The tree thus also alludes to the Bishop’s parents and family. In addition, the berries of the tree are reminiscent of the beads of the Rosary, recalling that the Bishop, named to the episcopacy on October 7th, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, has entrusted his episcopal ministry to the Blessed Mother under that title. Over the elderberry tree appears a blue star, the shining symbol of Mary, to underline that Bishop Hebda has placed his new pastoral ministry under Her maternal protection.
The blue and white fess cheqy is taken from the coat of arms of the Diocese of Pittsburgh where they appear because they come from the arms of William Pitt. Placed as the foundation for the elderberry tree, the juxtaposition recalls that Bishop Hebda has his roots in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Archbishop Myers will continue to combine or impale his personal arms on the same shield as the arms of the archdiocese until such time as he steps down. It is at that time that archbishop Hebda, who will then succeed as Archbishop of Newark and Metropolitan of the Province of Newark (not the province of New Jersey as is often wrongly thought) will impale his own arms to those of the See of Newark (a preview of that below).