On August 4, 2014 Cardinal Dolan of New York ordained three Auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese. They are the Most Revs. Peter Byrne, John O’Hara and John Jenik. While I have not yet seen the coats of arms assumed by all three I did come across the interesting and distinctive coat of arms assumed by Bishop Jenik. He designed the coat of arms himself and I am not sure of the symbolism behind the design. Many might see this as strange because it does not follow the usual “lucky charms” notion of heraldry with an overloaded shield filled with charges meant to be a pictorial CV of the bearer. Good for him! Such heraldry is atrocious and all too common among the American Catholic hierarchy.
Rather, Bishop Jenik’s coat of arms is very simple. This is one of the earmarks of good heraldry. The use of black and white may make it stark but not knowing the meaning of the design there may very well be a good reason for the choice of these colors. In addition, since heraldry is, at its heart, about identification and nothing else, the design is clear to see and easily identifiable. Again, these are attributes of good heraldry. It reminds me of some of the most ancient heraldic designs that present clear images and use as few colors as possible.
I say hats off to Bishop Jenik for an excellent and unique design for his coat of arms!
(Artwork by Paul Sullivan)