On June 8 the Most Rev. John Patrick Dolan (55), a priest of the Diocese of San Diego, California will be ordained the Titular Bishop of Uchi Maius and the Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego. He contacted me shortly after his appointment and asked me to design a very simple coat of arms for him. The result is:
The blazon and description is as follows:
BLAZON: Or an image of the Sacred Heart Gules; on a chief Azure two crescents Or. The shield is ensigned with an episcopal cross Or in pale behind the shield and surmounted by a galero with cords and six tassels on either side in three rows of one, two and three all Vert. On a scroll below the shield is the motto: “Abide in My Love”.
EXPLANATION: The bishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield upon which there are symbolic charges, a motto and the external ornaments of rank. The shield which is the most important feature of any heraldic device is blazoned (i.e. described) in heraldic language from the point of view of the bearer with the shield being held on his arm. For his personal arms Bishop Dolan has adopted a design to reflect his religious devotion, priestly ministry and family. The arms are composed of a gold (yellow) field on which there is a single charge of the Sacred Heart of Jesus depicted wounded, surrounded by a crown of thorns and enflamed all colored red. This reflects the bishop’s devotion to the Sacred Heart which is also symbolic of the mercy of God which he tries to reflect in his priestly ministry. All priests are exhorted to conform themselves more closely to Christ and strive to be shepherds after His own heart. The gold field is borrowed from the coat of arms of the diocese of San Diego to recall the local church he has served as a priest and will continue to serve as a bishop. The chief (upper third of the shield) replicates the blue field and crescents traditionally associated with the arms of Dolan in Irish heraldry. Here the usually silver crescents have been colored gold (yellow) and reduced in number from three to two for differencing. These charges are merely borrowed to act as an allusion to the bishop’s family name.
For his motto, Bishop Dolan has selected the phrase “ABIDE IN MY LOVE”.