Category Archives: Bishops

Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen

On December 19 the Most Rev. Thanh Thai Nguyen, 64, a priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida will be ordained the Titular Bishop of Acalissus and Auxiliary Bishop of Orange, California.

His coat of arms, designed by J.C. Noonan is:

Coat-of-Arms-Color-and-trans-background-768x1077

This is a pretty typical design from what we have come to see from Mr. Noonan. As usual, he insists on personalizing the external ornaments by added symbols to the episcopal cross which, strictly speaking, should not and may not be done. The blazon of a coat of arms (its written description which describes the elements unique to that coat of arms and so, contains the essence of that particular coat of arms) concerns only that which appears on the shield. The external ornaments are enumerated in Roman Catholic heraldic custom but they are generic, not specific. In addition, for some reason the ribbon for the neck badge of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre has been depicted here as brown. It should be black.

The wavy lines, lambs and lily in chief are a reference to the importance of waters in the bishop-elect’s personal journey, the 23rd Psalm and St. Joseph. The pelican in her piety is symbolic of the Eucharist and the arch of stars a reference to Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of La Vang.

 

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Bishop Flesey Retires

On October 16, 2017 the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop John W. Flesey, Titular Bishop of Allegheny and the Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, New Jersey.

Auxiliary Bishop-Emeritus’ Flesey’s arms are:

flesey-coatofarms

The shield bearing the personal arms of Bishop Flesey has been designed to reflect his personal history and ministry.  The principal colours are blue and red, which when combined with the charges upon the shield in white, recall the colours of the shield of the Archdiocese of Newark.  A further connection with the Archdiocese is made by the insertion of the crescent at the base of the shield which represents Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the principal patroness of the Archdiocese and Immaculate Conception Seminary where Bishop Flesey studied and taught for many years.  In the centre of the shield is the Lion of St. Mark, one of the four living creatures of the Book of Revelation (Revelation 4:7), which from earliest times has been associated with St. Mark, the author of the oldest Gospel.  In this context, the Lion is drawn to recall the Lion on the coat-of-arms of Blessed Pope John XXIII who borrowed it from the City of Venice where he served as Patriarch (Archbishop).  It was Pope John who summoned the bishops of the world to the Second Vatican Council; the changes in the Church (aggiornamento) brought about by the Council have established the context in which Bishop Flesey has exercised his priestly ministry.  The Lion also recalls Bishop Flesey’s home parish, St. Aedan in Jersey City where the symbols of the Evangelists are carved on the façade (but he did  develop a fondness for Venice during the years he spent in Rome).  At the top of the shield is a chief, a heraldic device often used as an augmentation to personal arms denoting an honour or membership in a group.  In this case, the chief refers to Bishop Flesey’s doctorate in spirituality.  It depicts the Holy Spirit descending with Wisdom and Grace fulfilling the promise of Jesus given to the Apostles that he would send the Spirit to instruct them in all Truth (John 16:13).

(from the Archdiocesan website)

Bishop Zarama of Raleigh

On August 29, the Most Rev. Luis Rafael Zarama, until now the Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta, will be installed in the brand new cathedral as the Sixth Bishop of Raleigh, North Carolina. His coat of arms (below) is explained on the diocesan website:

ZaramaCrest_final

On a blue field is displayed an extra wide chevron of Gold (yellow). This device gives the illusion of two mountains; a gold one and a blue one. The gold mountain (the chevron) is charged with a scattering (semé) of red crosses to represent the bishop’s home city of Pasto, in southwestern Colombia, which is known as “The Theological City.” The lower mountain (part of the blue field) has a golden lion’s head to represent the Evangelist, Saint Mark, who is the titular patron of the parish in Clarkesville, Georgia, on a mountain, where Bishop Zarama served as pastor.

Above the chevron are a gold rose for Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, also known as “The Little Flower,” and a silver (white) lily for Saint Joseph, the Foster Father of Jesus, who have served as Bishop Zarama’s particular patrons throughout his life as a priest and now as a bishop.

(Paul Sullivan is the artist)

Bishop Dolan

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:

Dolan5

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”.