Category Archives: Bishops

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:

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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”.

Bishop-Elect Kenneth Howell

The Rev. Kenneth Howell, 59, a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane has been appointed Titular Bishop of Thamugadi and Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane by Pope Francis. He will be ordained on June 14.

His coat of arms (below), designed by me in collaboration with Mr. Richard d’Apice, AM, KCHS of the Australian Heraldry Society, employs a field borrowed from arms associated with “Howell” and also pick up on the theme of light and darkness in association with the cross of Christ. The escallop shell is a symbol of St. John the Baptist because the bishop-elect was ordained a priest on the eve of the Nativity of St. John.

The motto translates to, “Prepare the Way For Him”. The arms were rendered by Mr. Sandy Turnbull, also of the Australian Heraldry Society.

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Bishop Timothy Harris

On May 3, the Feast of Ss. Philip & James, the Most Rev. Timothy Harris (54), a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, was ordained a bishop in the Church and installed as the 6th Bishop of Townsville, Australia.

His personal arms, impaled with those of the diocese, make allusions to his family name (the crescent), his baptismal patron (the plates representing stones as a symbol of St. Timothy) and Pope Francis who appointed him a bishop and whose emphasis on mercy the bishop wishes to incorporate into his own ministry (the sprig of spikenard).

His arms were designed by me in close collaboration with Mr. Richard d’Apice, AM, KCHS and rendered by Mr. Sandy Turnbull, both members of the Australian Heraldry Society.

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Bishop Gregory Homeming, OCD

On February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Most Rev. Gregory Homeming, of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (58) was ordained a bishop in the Church and installed as the 6th Bishop of Lismore, Australia.

His arms (below) reflect his membership in the Carmelite Order as also employ a symbol of St. Gregory the Great, a crane in its vigilance.

The bishop’s personal coat of arms were designed by me in collaboration with Mr. Richard d’Apice, AM, KCHS and rendered by Mr. Sandy Turnbull, both members of the Australian Heraldry Society.

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Auxiliaries of Milwaukee

On March 17 last The Most Rev. Jeffrey Haines and The Most Rev. James Schuerman were ordained to the episcopate to serve as Auxiliary Bishops of Milwaukee. Their newly assumed coats of arms (by Deacon Paul Sullivan) display, for a refreshing change, choices on the part of new bishops that result in clear, simple and distinctive coats of arms. Those of Bp. Schuerman appear to have been inspired by those of St. Francis de Sales but contain enough heraldic differencing to make them his own. These are both good examples of nice coats of arms.

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Bishop Haines’ Coat of Arms

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Bishop Schuerman’s Coat of Arms

Bishop Solis

On March 7 the Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis, formerly Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, was installed as the 10th Bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah. The first Filipino-American to head a diocese is now the shepherd of a diocese covering the entire state of Utah, famous for being “Mormon country”. His handsome coat of arms which refers to both the Filipino flag and to his surname, Solis, meaning “of the sun”, is now in place over the cathedra in the very beautiful cathedral of the Madeleine. This has the distinction of being one of the loveliest cathedrals in the United States.

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A Gallery of Banality

In January several new Auxiliary Bishops have been ordained in the USA. Their choices regarding armorial bearings have been, shall we say, underwhelming. I am not commenting on the quality of the artwork, at least not for the moment. This post is concerned with the content and composition of these coats of arms from a heraldically correct viewpoint. Let’s have a look.

Most Rev. Timothy Freyer, Auxiliary of Orange, CA (ordained January 17)

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Meh.

Most Rev. Mark Brennan, Auxiliary of Baltimore, MD (ordained January 19)

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Busy.

Most Rev. Adam Parker, Auxiliary of Baltimore, MD (ordained January 19)

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Gag. (and not entitled to the quarter of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher)

Most Rev. Gerard Battersby, Auxiliary of Detroit, MI (ordained January 25)

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Yuck.

Most Rev. Robert Fisher, Auxiliary of Detroit, MI (ordained January 25)

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Blech.