Father Smith

The armorial bearings of the Reverend Father James R. Smith of the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey were designed by me and recently assumed by the priest.

The shield is divided by a vertical line with the left side colored blue and the right side colored gold (yellow). These colors are borrowed from the armorial bearings of the Diocese of Trenton where he serves as a priest. Upon this is an escallop shell, a symbol of St. James the Greater which is also divided by the same colors alternating in a manner known as “counterchanging”. The counterchanging is evocative of the conversion inherent in metanoia. The shell is charged with a heart that is a symbol of St. Vincent de Paul, the “apostle of charity”. The heart is similarly counterchanged as a further allusion to metanoia.

The upper third of the shield, called a “chief” is separated from the rest by a jagged division line suggesting the teeth of a saw because St. James the Less was martyred by being sawed in half. Then the two sides of the chief are also “counterchanged” from the field below. 

On the chief to the right is a silver (white) crescent moon which is a symbol of Our Lady so it alludes to the diocese of Trenton, St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore and the USA of whom Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness. To the left, the violet (depicted in a stylized way) is the State flower of New Jersey. The armiger is a proud New Jerseyan.

The motto, “Go Teach All nations” is taken from the Sacred Scriptures from Matthew 28:19.

The whole achievement, instead of using the secular helm, mantle and crest is ensigned with the traditional galero, an ecclesiastical hat. It is black with one tassel pendant on either side of the shield as befits the priestly dignity.

2 thoughts on “Father Smith

  1. manareleven

    Dear Fr Guy,

    Very nice but is the heart counterchanged if the dexter half is another tincture from the sinister half of the escallop shell?

    Regards from my last days in the UK,


    1. guyselvester Post author

      The blog post is an explanation written in layman’s terms, NOT a blazon. In everyday (i.e. non-heraldic) language the word “counterchange” exists. It means to checker with contrasting colors. However, the blazon says: “Per pale Azure and Or an escallop shell Counterchanged charged with a heart per pale Gules and Or; on a chief indented per pale Or and Azure to dexter a New Jersey blue violet Purpure seeded Argent and to sinister a crescent Argent. The shield is surmounted with a priest’s galero with cords and one tassel pendant either side of the shield all Sable. On a scroll beneath the shield the motto, “Go Teach All Nations”.

      OK? Happy now?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s