Author Archives: guyselvester

Grand Master of the Teutonic Order

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In August of 2018 the Teutonic Order (Deutscher Orden), a formerly medieval military order of chivalry which had, by the 20th Century, been transformed into a Religious Order, elected Fr. Frank Bayard, O.T. as its Grand Master. The Grand Master of the order has the rank of abbot. Fr. Bayard succeeds Fr. Bruno Platter who was elected as Grand Master of the Teutonic Order in 2000 and re-elected in 2006.

The coat of arms of the Grand Master is ensigned with the external ornaments of an abbot and the galero is black with cords and tassels that are white. deutscherordengm.jpg.w300h397By custom the mitre is also included in the achievement despite the 1969 Instruction from the Holy See stating otherwise. In addition, the secular sword is included which is tolerated given the order’s history as an order of chivalry prior to becoming a Religious Order within the Church. The arms of the Grand master traditionally follow a pattern which makes use of a basic shield depicting the arms of the order as used by the Grand Master which divides the field into four quarters by a sable cross charged with a gold cross fleuretty and an inescutcheon overall depicting Or, an imperial eagle Proper. In the first and fourth quarters the usual arms of the Order (Argent a cross throughout Sable) are placed. The personal arms of the individual Grand Master then occupy the 2nd and 3rd quarters of the shield.

In November, 2018 The Rt. Rev. Frank Bayard received the abbatial blessing from Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, O.P. of Vienna, where the headquarters of the Order is located. The arms assumed by Grand Master Bayard are:

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The coat of arms used by the previous two Grand Masters, Bruno Platter and Arnold Weiland followed the same pattern.

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Most Rev. John M. Smith, RIP

 

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On Jan. 22, 2019 of the Most Rev. John Mortimer Smith, Bishop Emeritus (2010-2019) and Ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton (1997-2010), former Coadjutor Bishop of Trenton (1995-1997), former Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in Florida (1991-1995) and former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark (1988-1991) passed into eternal life.  Bishop Smith died in Morris Hall Meadows, Lawrenceville, after a long illness. He was 83 years old.

His coat of arms (above) was assumed at the time he was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop in 1988. It is, in my opinion, a little too “busy” insofar as he tried to do too much. All those various charges represent different events/aspects of his priestly life and ministry, a kind of pictorial CV, which is precisely the type of thing I encourage new armigers to avoid all the time. It was particularly problematic and a little bit unattractive when it was marshaled to the arms of a See, such as Trenton, because all this was then squeezed into a narrow impalement (below). Perhaps, it would have been better to marshal the arms differently or to have simply borne his personal arms alone (something of which most American bishops cannot conceive because they think it isn’t permitted!)

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Aside from his less-than-wonderful coat of arms I met Bishop Smith on several occasions and found him to be a warm, outgoing and very kind man. He was very down-to-earth and easy to talk with. In the days when he was bishop of Trenton I hosted a 30-minute weekly radio program for my diocese and he told me on more than once occasion how he enjoyed listening to it in the car while driving to some event at which he was to preside. He was one of our biggest fans. May he rest in peace and receive the reward of his labors in the Lord’s vineyard.

(Artwork for both images by Deacon Paul Sullivan)

Conrad Swan, R.I.P.

swanSir Conrad Marshall John Fisher Swan KCVO FSA (born 13 May 1924) was a retired long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Having been first appointed to work at the College in 1962, he rose to the office of Garter Principal King of Arms in 1992, a position he held until 1995. He was the first Canadian ever to be appointed to the College of Arms. He was first appointed Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary in 1962 and six years later became York Herald of Arms in Ordinary. In these capacities, he was among the Earl Marshal’s staff for the State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969, and was Gentleman Usher-in-Waiting to Pope John Paul II during his visit to the United Kingdom in 1982.

Swan was appointed Garter Principal King of Arms in 1992 on the retirement of Sir Alexander Colin Cole. His own retirement came in 1995, after having been diagnosed with cancer.

Swan was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1994 as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO). He is also a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Nation of Antigua and Barbuda (KGCN), Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta, Cross of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Grand Duke Gediminas (Lithuania), Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I (GCFO) and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Lion of Rwanda.

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He was also a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem and Knight Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor (1995–2000); Commander (with Star) of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit; Grand Cross with Grand Collar of the Imperial Order of the Holy Trinity (Ethiopia); Coronation Medal of the King of Tonga. He received the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan in 2005.

May he rest in peace.

Sacerdotal Arms of Gaunt

Recently a priest from the UK shared with me the recent (November, 2018) grant of arms he received from HM College of Arms. Of course there was a very fine example of Letters Patent illustrating the grant as well as laying out the blazon of arms. This is not an inexpensive or a quickly done process. Being a subject of HM, the Queen it was altogether correct, however, for Fr. Adam Gaunt to petition for and receive a grant of arms from the legitimate heraldic authority within the country in which he lives. It may take some time; it may cost a rather tidy sum but in the end it is well worth it.

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The coat of arms itself (below) is illustrated ensigned by the appropriate ecclesiastical hat for a priest of the Church of England. That is to say with two black tassels suspended from cords composed of black and white skeins twisted together.

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The Letters Patent also depict an heraldic crest on a helm with a horse and mantling which is most often seen employed in the arms of a layman not in holy orders. (below)

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In addition, there are illustrations included of a heraldic badge, as well as an heraldic standard which is composed of the arms, crest and badge. (below)

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Father Gaunt was kind enough to explain that, “The arms are an adaptation of those attributed by “ancient and uniform tradition” to my ancestor Gilbert de Gaunt, Earl of Lincoln.”

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“He, (Gilbert) was of Flemish origin and related to the Counts of Flanders, who used the same heraldic colors and metals.”

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Here in the United States we do not have a heraldic authority. That is not to say that Americans cannot employ coats of arms. On the contrary, Americans are armigerous but we may legally and correctly, which are two different things, assume a coat of arms. That is to say we are able simply to design and adopt a coat of arms for our own use. In England there is a heraldic authority which is not a government office but a private corporation which operates as a part of the royal household. While it is technically illegal for a person to assume a coat of arms in England there isn’t a very great likelihood that there will be any legal repercussions to doing so as there might be in, say, Scotland or South Africa. However, it is quite incorrect simply to assume arms in England.

Instead, it is both right and, I would hazard a guess, quite delightful to do as Fr. Gaunt has done and receive a grant of arms from HM College of Arms. Well done Fr. Gaunt!

Bishop Mulvee, RIP

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On December 28 the Most Rev. Robert Mulvee (88) retired VII Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, formerly Bishop of Wilmington, Delaware and Auxiliary Bishop as well as a priest of Manchester, New Hampshire passed away. He will be buried on January 10th.

May he Rest in Peace.

Mulvee Coat of Arms

Bishop Morlino RIP

On November 24, 2018 the Most Rev. Robert Charles Morlino (71), Fourth Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin since 2003, died peacefully after a brief illness.

His coat of arms as described in information from the diocese:

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“The arms of the diocese are composed of a field that is wavy bars of silver (white) and blue. This is the traditional heraldic representation for water and the field of “water” is divided by a red cross into four sections to remind us of the lakes of the region around Madison. On the red cross is a fish and this conjunction of symbols is a classic symbolic representation for Saint Raphael, the titular of the Cathedral Church of Madison. Raphael means “healer of God” and his ministrations to men make interesting reading in the Book of Tobit in the Old Testament. The fish recalls the episode where Raphael ordered Tobias to cook a fish to eat but removed the heart, liver and gall for future medicinal use. Later the liver was used by Tobias to drive out the devil, who had slain seven of the previous husbands of Sara, his wife, while the gall was used to restore sight to his blind father.

The upper most part of the bishop’s arms contain a gold tower which symbolizes a place of refuge, strength and of safety.  There is also a book which serves to reference the bishop’s thirst for knowledge of things that concern God and His Church.

There is also a gold crescent moon on a blue fess. The blue fess serves to recall not only the blue in which Our Lady is traditionally depicted, but also of water.

The “lion passant” of gold in the lowest part of the shield alludes to the strength and liveliness of His Excellency in all that he does, but most especially in defending the faith. This charge further seeks to reveal His Excellency’s strong devotion to Pope Saint Leo the Great that began to develop during the formation of his master’s thesis.

The red background, overall, calls to mind the blood of the martyrs.

The motto, “The Vision Will Not Disappoint” is from Habbakuk 2:3″

Requiescat in Pace.

 

 

Bishop Betancourt

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The Coat of Arms of Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt, SEMV, depicts the Lamb of the Book of Revelation, slaughtered but victorious, the one who is the lamp for the Church (Rev 5:6; 21:23). The victory of Christ over sin and death through his sacrifice is reflected in the rays of power around his head (Rev 5:12; 17:14). The Lamb, giving his life for his Bride, the Church, through the shedding of his blood denotes the life of love and service of an ordained minister of the Church (Rev 14:1). The Lamb of God gives his life voluntarily so his Church can live and continue her mission of salvation in the world (John 10:17-18). The Lamb rests on a plain and unadorned wooden altar, evoking a life of simplicity, a life that wants to be spent in service signaling everyone to the Lamb, Christ the Savior. Finally, the Lamb also reminds us of Bishop Betancourt’s home, Puerto Rico, whose coat of arms is the oldest still in use in the New World.

The red and white banner, held by the Lamb, represents the local church of Hartford, which Bishop Betancourt has been called by the Lord to serve and give his life with joy and compassion, as well as his titular see of Curzola.

The Schoenstatt Shrine at the center of the altar represents the spirituality in which Bishop Betancourt has been formed through the charism of the Servants of the Holy Eucharist and of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The blue background is the presence of the Blessed Mother in the Church and the life of Bishop Betancourt. “Nothing without you, nothing without us” (Fr. Joseph Kentenich). “She is the great missionary, she will perform miracles” (St. Vincent Pallotti). The background also reminds Bishop Betancourt of the Church in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis where he practiced his ministry of pastor, Scripture professor and formator of seminarians for more than a decade.

That strong presence of Mary is highlighted by the star. Mary, Stella Maris, reigns with her power of intercession and protection over every single member of the Body of Christ. In times of strife and distress in the Church, the Blessed Mother is the beacon of hope, promising strength, unity and security, inviting us to imitate the holiness and self-giving of her Son for the sake of his Bride. Traditionally, the eight-point star represents resurrection, salvation, super-abundance (of grace) and new beginnings.

He was ordained as the Auxiliary Bishop of Hartford on October 18, 2018.