On Friday, March 29, 2019 the Most Rev. Robert Brennan, formerly Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, NY was installed as the twelfth Bishop of Columbus, Ohio. His personal arms now impaled with those of the See are described on the diocesan website.
The Brennan coat of arms comprises a white shield with a blue heraldic lion, and two red hands in the top corners of the shield. Rather than use the original design Bishop Brennan has chosen to retain the overall coloration and layout of his family coat of arms, while employing charges more evocative of his own life of faith.
The main charge on the shield is the Cross, the foundation of the Christian faith. The arms of this particular Cross resemble a fleur-de-lis, a stylized lily often used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
At the bottom of the cross appears a small white star, a symbol of Our Lady. Its position recalls the moment of the Commendation, when, “standing by the cross of Jesus” (John 19:25), Mary became, at her Son’s command, the Mother of all of his disciples (cf. John 19:27). The star has seven points, recalling the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
At the center of the cross appears a lamb’s head painted gold. The same charge figures prominently on the coat of arms of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which Bishop Brennan served as a priest and bishop for nearly 30 years. Saint Agnes is the patroness of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and of its Cathedral church, where Bishop Brennan resided for 16 years.
At the top of the shield are two scallop shells painted red. Although the charges are the same, they are used here to allude to two different saints: John the Baptist and James the Greater. Bishop Brennan attended Saint John the Baptist High School (West Islip) and Saint John’s University, and the patron of these schools is often depicted in sacred art using a shell to baptize the Lord Jesus. The date of Bishop Brennan’s ordination as a bishop — July 25, 2012 — is the feast of Saint James, the brother of Saint John the Evangelist and the first of the apostles to be martyred, during the persecution of the early Church (Acts 12:1-2). The red color of the shells recalls the fact that both of these saints gave their lives as martyrs for the faith.