On August 2 the Most Reverend John Patrick Dolan (60), originally a priest of San Diego and, since 2017 Auxiliary Bishop of that same diocese, will be installed as the fifth Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona. His armorial bearings are:
The bishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield upon which there are symbolic charges, a motto and the external ornaments of rank. By heraldic custom observed in North America, the arms of the diocesan bishop are “impaled” side by side on the same shield to the arms of his jurisdiction, in this case, the Diocese of Phoenix. This signifies that the bishop is “married” to the See. The same method of impalement is employed in the coat of arms of two married people who are armigerous.
The coat of arms of the See of Phoenix is composed of a blue field on which is placed a silver (white) mountain to represent Camelback Mountain, a significant aspect of the backdrop of the See City. Arising from the mountain is a gold (yellow) bird that is coming forth from red flames to represent the mythological phoenix, that arose from the ashes, and for which the See city is named. Above the phoenix is a gold cross formy fitchée (three arms of a cross and one resembling a spike), which is taken from the arms of the Diocese of Tucson to signify that it was from the territory of Tucson that the Diocese of Phoenix was created in 1969.
For his personal arms Bishop Dolan has adopted a design to reflect his religious devotion, priestly ministry and family. The arms are composed of a gold (yellow) field on which there is a single charge of the Sacred Heart of Jesus depicted wounded, surrounded by a crown of thorns and enflamed all colored red. This reflects the bishop’s devotion to the Sacred Heart which is also symbolic of the mercy of God which he tries to reflect in his priestly ministry. All priests are exhorted to conform themselves more closely to Christ and strive to be shepherds after His own heart. The gold field is borrowed from the coat of arms of the diocese of San Diego to recall the local church he had served as a priest and auxiliary bishop. The chief (upper third of the shield) replicates the blue field and crescents traditionally associated with the arms of Dolan in Irish heraldry. Here the usually silver crescents have been colored gold (yellow) and reduced in number from three to two for differencing. These charges are merely borrowed to act as an allusion to the bishop’s family name.
For his motto, Bishop Dolan has selected the phrase “ABIDE IN MY LOVE”.
The shield is ensigned with a gold (yellow) episcopal cross. Such crosses resemble contemporary processional crosses but they are, in fact, different. In the Middle Ages such a cross, without a corpus, was carried directly in front of all metropolitan archbishops and Papal Legates as a symbol of their authority. Eventually all bishops began using this emblem and adopted it in their coats of arms as well. The episcopal cross ceased to be used in the late XIX Century but the cross behind the shield is the true emblem of episcopal heraldry. In addition, above the shield is the green ecclesiastical hat called a “galero” with six tassels pendant on either side. This broad brimmed hat, once worn in cavalcades, is no longer used but remains as a heraldic emblem. The original color worn by bishops and archbishops was green, not purple. This “episcopal color” is retained in heraldry. These external ornaments are those used for a prelate with the rank of bishop according to the Instruction of the Holy See, “Ut Sive”, of March, 1969.
I was pleased to design the bishop’s personal arms in 2017 when he became a bishop and was also happy to marshal them to those of his new diocese shortly after his appointment to Phoenix.