Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The Coat of Arms of Bishop Blase Cupich, Sixth Bishop of Spokane

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 19, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

A bishop’s coat of arms contains both that of his diocese and his personal arms. The most important part of any coat of arms is the shield in its center.

The coat of arms of the Diocese of Spokane is on the viewer’s left. Bishop Cupich’s personal coat of arms is at the viewer’s right. The design reflects his life and ministry. The lower third is taken from the crest of the Diocese of Rapid City and expresses the bishop’s appreciation for the blessings received there, especially those which come to the Church from rural life and Native American culture, traits also found in his new diocese. The green field recognizes those who live and work in the vast expanse of ranch and farm lands. The gold circle, the sacred circle, honors the Native American people and their belief that all things in life and in nature are interdependent. Like a circle, which has no beginning and no end, life is one. Each part of creation works with all the other parts to comprise this unity, as is the case with the Church; though many parts, we are all one Body. (Romans 12:5)

The wavy white bar separating the two left panels is also taken from the crest of the Diocese of Rapid City. It represents here the Missouri river, which serves as the eastern border for both his former diocese and his diocese of origin, the Archdiocese of Omaha.

The bishop’s crosier (silver) and two crossed candles (white) dominate the upper two-thirds of the right side of the shield as seen by the viewer. The candles honor the Bishop’s baptismal patron, St. Blase, on whose feast day the Church blesses throats with candles. They are positioned so that, with the crosier, they form a Chi-Rho (XP), the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ. The blue field honors Mary, “the parting gift of Christ” to the Church. (Preface, “Mary, Mother of the Church”)

Using the Chi-Rho works well with the motto which Bishop Cupich has chosen. “Peace be with you” were the first words of the Risen Christ to his disciples. They are also the first words a bishop speaks to the assembly when he presides at liturgical celebrations. With this motto Bishop Cupich states that all his ministry as bishop has meaning through and in the peace of Christ.

The coat of arms is completed with the external ornaments which are a gold processional cross, that is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and with the pontifical hat, called a gallero, 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.

(Adapted from explanations by Deacon Paul J. Sullivan, Narragansett, R.I.)

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