Coat Of Arms Explanation
So what’s a Coat of Arms? It’s a heraldic symbol that captures a person’s identity, interest, history, values, and aspirations. It’s not just for medieval times! Every bishop has his personal Coat of Arms. Click here for a short history and explanation of my coat of arms and learn about what the various symbols used as well as their significance.
All prelates of the Catholic Church have a right to armorial bearings. The primary interest of the Church in the use of heraldry is that each person has his own distinct arms and that the achievement correctly reflects his rank in the Church. The armorial achievement, or coat of arms, of Most Reverend Daniel Mueggenborg is composed of the shield with its various charges, the external ornaments of a bishop, and the motto.
The main charges of the shield (escutcheon) have particular sig- nificance for Bishop Mueggenborg. The top portion of the field (in chief ) is blue (azure) with an eight-pointed gold star (mul- let) and shell (escallop). The star on blue symbolizes the Blessed Virgin and recalls Pope Francis’ coat of arms, who appointed him bishop. The star also recalls the self-revelation of God (Creator) manifested in creation who draws us to Himself, just as He led the pagan Magi to fullness of faith worshipping the Christ Child in Bethlehem. This connection of the Creator revealed through Creation captures the significance of Bishop Mueggenborg’s studies in geology leading him to priesthood.
The shell represents multiple things. First, it is an attribute of St. James the Greater, patron of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Second, it is a symbol for baptism and the pilgrimage that is the Christian life. Lastly, it is an homage to Fr. Stanley Rother, a priest of Oklahoma martyred in Santiago, Guatemala; Fr. Rother
inspired Bishop Mueggenborg to be open to the possibility of a priestly vocation.
The shield is divided by a silver chevron with arrowheads. The red arrowheads are taken from both Oklahoma dioceses’ coats of arms, representing the Five Civilized Tribes of the Indian Territory. The chevron is one of the most ancient figures in Church heraldry; it signifies the rafter which holds the roof of the church, and symbolizes the concept of protection, which is the responsibility of the bishop who teaches, governs and sanctifies. The chevron is in silver (argent), the color of transparency, as well as truth and justice – all fundamental requirements of the Bishop’s pastoral service.
The green (vert) base with wheat (garb) recalls Bishop Mueggenborg’s specific family origins. His grandfather immigrated to the United States from Germany and settled in Oklahoma Territory to farm this staple crop. Wheat is a Eucharistic image of our participation in God’s work of gathering, redeeming and sanctifying all things in Christ so that He may present us to the Father as one perfect and Holy sacrificial offering. The green base recalls his many years of service in the presbyterate of the Diocese of Tulsa, as northeastern Oklahoma is commonly referred to as “Green Country.”
On a scroll below the shield is Bishop Mueggenborg’s motto: Misericordes sicut Pater (“Merciful like the Father”). As a student of Biblical Theology, with a specialization in Lucan studies, the bishop describes this motto as an encapsulation of the entire Gospel of Luke as stated in Luke 6:36.
The remainder of the coat of arms distinguishes it as those of a bishop. The shield is ensigned with a green pilgrim’s hat (galero), used in ecclesiastical heraldry for clerics in place of the traditional helmet, mantling, and crest. The hat’s cords terminate in twelve tassels. Behind the shield is an episcopal cross extending above and below it.
Below is the textual description of the coat of arms in traditional heraldic terminology called blazon.
BLAZON: Per chevron, Azure and Vert overall on a chevron Argent five arrowheads points downward Gules; in chief to dexter a mullet of eight points and to sinister an escallop shell Or; in base a garb Or
Coat of arms designed and emblazoned by Rev. Pachomius Meade, OSB