Catholic Diocese of Dallas

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Coat of Arms selected for Pope Francis

Publish date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Pope Francis has chosen the motto "Miserando atque eligendo", meaning lowly but chosen; literally in Latin 'by having mercy, by choosing him'.

The motto is one the Pope had already chosen as Bishop. It is taken from the homilies of the Venerable Bede on Saint Matthew's Gospel relating to his vocation:"Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an Apostle saying to him : Follow me."

This homily, which focuses on divine mercy and is reproduced in the Liturgy of the Hours on the Feast of Saint Matthew, has taken on special significance in the Pope's life and spiritual journey.

In fact it was on the Feast of Saint Matthew in 1953 that a young seventeen year-old Jorge Bergoglio was touched by the mercy of God and felt the call to religious life in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Beyond the motto, the coat of arms has a blue field and is surmounted by the mitre and the papal keys. On the crest itself at the centre is the symbol of the Jesuits, a flaming sun with the three letters recalling the name and the salvific mission of Jesus. Underneath we have two more symbols: to the right the star representing Mary and to the left the nard flower representing Joseph.

Coat of Arms of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas

CoatofArmsWeb.jpgCrests or coats-of-arms tell about the history of a place or a family, the crest of the Diocese of Dallas is no different. Through its imagery, the crest presents  a symbolic history of the Diocese of Dallas.

At the top of the crest is a bishop’s mitre, the tall hat worn by bishops that is a symbol of their office. Beneath that is a red shield with a number of objects.  Red is the color of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, patron of the diocese.  In the upper right hand corner are crossed swords, the symbol of St. Paul who died by the sword. It represents the mission at St. Paul, Texas in Collin County. St. Paul mission was the first Catholic Church in what is now the Diocese of Dallas. 

In the lower left corner is a star, it represents the Lone Star of Texas. Running diagonally is a wavy line with three blue fleurs-de-lis. The fleur-de-lis, or flower of life, is a symbol of the Holy Trinity and is also the national symbol of France. In the crest both symbols are meaningful. The wavy line represents the Trinity River, whose original name was Most Holy Trinity. Three fleurs-de-lis represent the Trinity. They also recall the French priests who first served the diocese.


Coat of Arms of the Bishops of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas

Bishop Kevin Farrell

Bishop Kevin Farrell Coat of ArmsBLAZON (heraldic description):

Arms impaled. In the dexter: Gules, on a fess per bend wavy Argent three fleurs de lis Azure, in the sinister chief two crossed swords Argent, in the dexter base a molet Argent. In the sinister: Per fess Or and Azure, a lion rampant per fess Gules and Or, standing on a mound of rock Argent.


The dexter impalement (on the observer’s left) displays the arms of the Diocese of Dallas. The red field honors the Sacred Heart. The diagonal wavy band with three fleurs de lis represents the Trinity River, named by early Spanish explorers, which flows through the diocese. The fleur de lis appears on the coat of arms of Pope Leo XIII, who established the Diocese of Dallas in 1890. The two silver swords in the upper right honor St. Paul, patron of the first permanent Catholic settlement in northeast Texas. The sword was the instrument of St. Paul's martyrdom. The star in the lower left locates Dallas in Texas, the Lone Star State.

The sinister impalement displays the arms of Bishop Farrell. The lion rampant honors Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop emeritus of Washington, and the Irish sept of O'Farrell. In the upper portion of the shield, gold (yellow) and the lion (red) are derived from the Arms of Cardinal McCarrick, whom Bishop Farrell assisted as Auxiliary Bishop of Washington. The lower portion of the lion in gold (yellow) derives from the Irish sept of O'Farrell. Here a blue field has been substituted for the green of the O'Farrell Arms, to honor Our Lady of Lourdes, upon whose feast day Bishop Farrell received ordination to the episcopate at the hands of the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington. In the base of the shield is a silver (white) mound of rock, symbolic of Bishop Farrell's patron, Saint Kevin (d. ca. 618). After ordination Saint Kevin settled as a hermit at Glendalough (Co. Wicklow, Ireland), in a cave called “St. Kevin's Bed” formerly a Bronze Age rock tomb.

Bishop Farrell’s arms are impaled with those of Dallas to recall the spousal relationship between the Bishop and the local church of which he has been appointed pastor.

The motto, STATE IN FIDE (“Stand Firm in the Faith”) is from Saint Paul's epistle to the Colossians, and complements the rock mound and the lion that holds an honorable position in biblical history.

Behind the Arms is a gold (yellow) processional cross, symbolic of the episcopal rank. Over the whole achievement is a bishop’s hat, or galero, with six tassels on each side, disposed in three rows, all in green.

Bishop Farrell’s arms were devised by A. W. C. Phelps, of Cleveland, Ohio in 2002, in consultation with the Bishop.

Bishop Doug Deshotel

Coat of Arms - Bishop Doug DeshotelBlazon:

Party per fess; to chief dexter tirced per pale Azure, Argent and Gules; to dexter a star and to sinister a fleur-de-lis both of the second; in a base Vert, issuant from base a pelican in her piety Proper


The episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield, which is the central and most important part of the design, a scroll with a motto and the external ornamentation. The design is described (blazoned) as if the description was being given by the bearer (from behind) with the shield being worn on the left arm. Thus, it must be remembered, where it applies, as the device is viewed from the front that the terms sinister and dexter are reversed.

As a bishop without canonical jurisdiction (an auxiliary bishop), Bishop Deshotel’s personal arms occupy the entire shield.

These arms are composed of two main sections. The upper portion, known as a chief is blue, white and red, with a white star on the blue field which is the arrangement of the Acadian flag, indicating that His Excellency is of Cajun roots in Lafayette, Louisiana. The Acadians, of French heritage, fled Canada in the mid-1700’s and settled in southern Louisiana. On the red portion of the tricolors is a fleur-de-lis to represent the deep French connections of the Acadians.

In the lower portion of the design is a green field with a pelican, feeding her brood with blood from her own breast. This symbolism, known as a “pelican in her piety” is a classic representation of southern Louisiana.

For his motto, His Excellency Bishop Deshotel has selected the Latin phrase, “CHRISTUS CARITAS URGET ME.” In the phrase, His Excellency Bishop Deshotel express his profound belief that it is “Christ’s love that urges him on.”

The achievement in completed by the external ornamentation which are a gold (yellow) processional cross, that is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and the pontifical hat, called a “galero,” with its six tassels in three rows on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop, by instruction of The Holy See, of March 31, 1969.

Bishop Deshotel's arms were devised by Deacon Paul J. Sullivan, in consultation with the Bishop.

Bishop Mark Seitz

Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz Coat of Arms

When a priest is named to the office of Bishop he is given a number of tasks that have the value of inviting him to reflect upon his identity and his goals. He has to choose a motto and to develop a shield or coat of arms.

I have chosen the motto, “Paratum cor meum”, “My heart is ready”. The Coat of Arms must be done by a rare person with artistic ability and a knowledge of heraldry. Mine was created by a permanent deacon, Deacon Paul Sullivan, from Rhode Island, who designs these shields for most of the bishops of the United States.

There is more here than I am even capable of explaining, but I would like to give you a little summary of the basic symbols on the crest.

1. Beginning at the upper left, the red rose is the "Rose for Life". I wanted some symbol of my commitment to the Gospel of Life, which is really an expression of my concern that the dignity of human life be respected at all of its stages from conception to natural death. Without this fundamental respect, which especially extends to the most vulnerable, no society can be a good or a healthy society.

2. The anchor is the “anchor of hope”, which was a symbol of Roger Williams, my ancestor, and which is found on the flag of Rhode Island. Roger Williams was the Baptist minister who founded Rhode Island on principles of religious liberty and freedom of conscience. I hope also to be effective in working with people of other faiths and to be a contributor to the good of our nation.

There is a beautiful line in Hebrews referring to this anchor,

"...we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (Heb. 6:18b-20)

3. The trefoil (shamrock) speaks to my Irish heritage, to the importance of teaching the Faith and, of course, harkens back to St. Patrick, one of our Faith’s most effective missionaries.

4. The blue and white diamond pattern is a sign of my Bavarian heritage.

5. The winged lion is the symbol for St. Mark the Evangelist. St. Mark is, of course, my patron. I hope to imitate him in his service of the Apostles Peter and Paul and in his ability to effectively translate the Faith to those who needed to hear the message of salvation. The lion also happens to be a symbol of Bavaria.

Please keep me in your prayers that my life may honorably reflect these signs.

Originally published in the "InSeitz" column of the weekly bulletin of All Saints Catholic Church, April 25, 2010