Monthly Archives: July 2015

St. Joseph Parish, Washington, NJ


The newly assumed coat of arms of St. Joseph Catholic Church (above) incorporates elements alluding to the location of the parish and the parish’s titular patron saint. The blazon is: Gules, two bars Argent and in chief three fleur-de-lis Argent. That is: on a red background there are two horizontal silver (white) stripes and above that three fleur-de-lis also silver (white).
The new coat of arms is based closely on the coat of arms of George Washington (pictured below) The blazon of that coat of arms is: Argent, two bars Gules and in chief three mullets of five points also Gules. The Borough of Washington and Washington Township in Warren County in Northwest New Jersey is named for Washington.

In the arms of the parish the colors have been reversed for difference and the three mullets or stars have been replaced with three fleur-de-lis, a symbol in heraldry used most often to represent Our Lady but one which is also used to allude to St. Joseph, her husband. For some time now the parish already employed the fleur-de-lis as a kind of logo or parish symbol.
The new coat of arms was designed and rendered by me as I am serving as the Administrator of the parish.

Bishop Massa & Bishop Mroziewski

On July 20 the Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio will ordain the Most Rev. James Massa and the Most Rev. Witold Mroziewski as auxiliary bishops of Brooklyn. Their newly-assumed coats of arms are pictured below without comment. I am personally acquainted with Bishop Massa and he had wanted me to design his coat of arms but others took that matter out of his hands. Therefore, I will refrain from expressing an opinion on the design of the arms.


Bishop Malesic of Greensburg, PA

On July 13 the Most Rev. Edward Malesic, a priest of the Harrisburg, PA diocese will be ordained and installed as the fifth bishop of Greensburg, Pennsylvania at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg.

his newly assumed coat of arms is:


The explanation of the arms (provided by the diocese) is:

“The color of the field is BLUE (azure), the color of the sky, which symbolizes the direction of the soul’s ascent toward God and away from worldly values, therefore, the color represents the path set by the spiritual virtues, raising a person from the things of the earth toward the incorruptibility of heaven.

The CHEVRON is a heraldic device best described as an inverted “V” and is one of the most ancient figures in heraldry. Frequently, in Roman Catholic Church heraldry, it signifies the rafter which supports the roof of the church as a source of protection for the community of faith gathered under it. The THREE SHAMROCKS represent the Cathedral in Harrisburg, dedicated to St. Patrick, where Bishop Malesic was ordained to the priesthood by the imposition of the hands of Cardinal William H. Keeler, at that time Bishop of Harrisburg. The CHEVRON is in SILVER (argent), the color of transparency, also of truth and justice, fundamental requirements of the Bishop’s pastoral service.

The CROWN above the chevron is the symbol of Bishop Malesic’s given name, after St. Edward “The Confessor” (d.1066), King of England who gave witness to his Catholic faith through his life. The crown also recalls Mary, Queen of the Apostles, upon whose intercession Bishop Malesic relies.

The LINDEN TREE below the chevron expresses the Slovenian heritage of Bishop Malesic’s father. The linden tree is considered the national tree of Slovenia and is also a symbol of joy and safety. The community often gathered under the shade of the linden tree for fellowship and community discussions.”

The bishops of Greensburg have a pretty good tradition of having simple, well-designed coats of arms. Bishop Malesic is no exception. While he has still given in slightly to the “coat of arms as pictorial CV” school of heraldry it isn’t too bad and he’s far from the only American bishop to do so. I think that overall the design is clear, well done and blends well with the arms of the diocese. My only criticism, and it is a small one, is that the two crosses in chief in the arms of the diocese are incorrect. They should be patteé formeé, that is to say they should look like two round gold balls formed into crosses. This is because they are taken from the two identical crosses in the arms of the see of Pittsburgh, from which Greensburg was separated, where, in turn, they were derived from the gold bezants in the arms of William Pitt but turned into crosses to difference them. These crosses do not in any way resemble gold balls.

The personal arms of of Bishop Malesic were designed and rendered impaled with those of the diocese by Renato Poletti.