Category Archives: Work of Other Artists

9/11 Remembered

The Most Reverend Josu Iriondo, (80) formerly a Canon Regular of the Most Holy Savior of the Lateran, later incarnated as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and retired Auxiliary Bishop of New York was appointed to be a bishop on October 30, 2001 and ordained the Titular Bishop of Alton and Auxiliary of NY on December 12, 2001 while the city was still reeling from the horrible terrorist attacks of 9/11. In his assumed coat of arms Bishop Iriondo decided to commemorate those horrible events and the faith that helped many cope with them by incorporating an image from Ground Zero into his coat of arms. There was a cross made of the remnant I-beams of one of the fallen towers that rescue workers erected over the site. That cross of steel I-beams was used as the image of the cross making up the principal charge of the bishop’s coat of arms.

artwork by Deacon Paul Sullivan


Archbishop Etienne Succeeds

The Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne (60) who had been translated from Archbishop of Anchorage to Coadjutor of Seattle last April has now succeeded to the See of Seattle as of September 3, 2019. On that date Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Peter Sartain for health reasons and Etienne becomes the 10th Metropolitan Archbishop of Seattle.

His coat of arms (above) combines the arms of the See of Seattle with his personal arms. It’s nice to see he didn’t once again change them as he did when going from Cheyenne (where he originally served as a bishop) to Anchorage. At that time I was very outspoken in my criticism of that decision. There is no such criticism this time around.

Bishop Brennan Translated to Wheeling-Charleston

On Wednesday, August 21, the feast of St. Pius X, the Most Rev. Mark E. Brennan (72) until recently Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore and Titular Bishop of Rusibisir, was installed as the 9th Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. He succeeds the scandal ridden Bishop Michael Bransfield.

His coat of arms (above) is clearly a redesign of the coat of arms he assumed at the time he became a bishop. Normally, I am very critical of the practice of a bishop changing his coat of arms when transferring to a different assignment. A coat of arms is not “changeable” as it is a mark of personal identification.

However, Bishop Brennan’s originally assumed arms (below) were rather busy and it would have been difficult to impale them well with the diocesan coat of arms. Of course, it is well worth pointing out that while impalement, symbolizing that the bishop is “married” to his diocese, is the norm for diocesan bishops in the United States but it is not mandatory by any means. I would hazard a guess that when Bishop Brennan assumed his coat of arms he did not think that he would ever be called upon to serve as a diocesan bishop and thought his episcopal ministry would be lived out as an Auxiliary of Baltimore. That’s not an unusual assumption when you consider he was already 69 years old when he was appointed a bishop and the mandatory age at which bishops must submit a resignation is 75!

Nevertheless, his personal coat of arms has been redesigned to better harmonize and more easily be impaled with the coat of arms of the See of Wheeling-Charleston. In my opinion, my misgivings about redesigning arms aside, I think it is an improvement over the original coat of arms. The change of the motto, also not an absolutely necessary part of a coat of arms although erroneously thought to be so by many, is less problematic.

Archbishop Wilson of Southwark (with an update)

On July 25, 2019 the Most Rev. John Wilson (51), a priest and auxiliary bishop of Westminster was installed as the 11th Metropolitan Archbishop of Southwark. London is a unique city in that it contains two different ARCHdioceses, as well as also containing part of the territory of two dioceses. Everything south of the river Thames is in the Archdiocese of Southwark.

The archbishop employs the archdiocesan arms pictured below. They follow the more ancient custom in Britain of ensigning the shield with a bishop’s mitre rather than the more continental galero.

Most Rev. Robert F. Christian, O.P. – RIP

The Most Rev. Robert Christian, a Dominican friar, who has been the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco passed away on July 11, 2019 at age 70.

His coat of arms was assumed by him at the time of his episcopal ordination.

Umm…no. Sorry, but “beige” isn’t a heraldic color and, no, you may not just simply make up new rules and use whatever color you wish in heraldry. The science of heraldry limits the tinctures to be used and beige isn’t one of them. The Dominican cross and the usual Franciscan conformities (the arms of Christ and St. Francis crossed with each other) made for a nice combination of symbols for his Religious Community and the Archdiocese.

May he rest in peace.