Monthly Archives: May 2023

Archbishop Ravelli

Father Diego Giovanni Ravelli (57) a priest of the Suburbican Diocese of Velletri-Segni who currently serves as the Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, in other words, the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies, will be ordained as the Titular Archbishop of Recanati, a new Titular See established in 2022 on June 3 at St. Peter’s basilica in the Vatican by Pietro Cardinal Parolin, papal Secretary of State.

The armorial bearings he is assuming were prepared by Giuseppe Quattrociocchi. The make use of simple and bold symbolism. The grid in base is a reference to St. Lawrence the Martyr.

Bishop Edward Cullen of Allentown: RIP

The Most Rev. Edward Cullen, a priest of Philadelphia who served as Auxiliary Bishop there from 1994-1997 and who went on to become the Third Bishop of Allentown, PA from 1997-2009, passed away on May 9, 2023 at age 90. RIP.

The coat of arms he assumed upon becoming a bishop in 1994 is simple enough. Because so many bishops want to include as much symbolism as they can he decided against symmetry by having the garb and the star next to each other. The problem is that symmetry is an important aspect of heraldic art. It might have been better to place the star in the center between two garbs. Even though that increases the number of charges it provides for a more symmetrical look and avoids the appearance of a bunch of charges merely splayed across a shield. The garb may only represent one thing but having two of them would still have looked better.

Some might say, “But then it is as if they represent two separate things.” Only if you are being tiresomely literal. Solely for the sake of symmetry and a better composition and appearance, two garbs with a star between them would have been a better choice.

It is unfortunate that the personal arms and the diocesan arms both had fields Gules. But, sometimes that kind of thing happens. It would not have been a good idea to change the field in the personal arms to something else. Occasionally, the luck of the draw created some unfortunate combinations when marshaling arms together. That’s just the way it is. In such situations a bishop could consider not impaling his arms with those of the See or the artist could get creative with the depiction of the coat of arms by doing something like employing a division line of a color other than merely black to separate the two impalements.

Overall he had a nice coat of arms but with a little bit of help it could have been even better.

Justin Trudeau Meddles in Heraldry

Today, the Canadian Government of Justin Trudeau unveiled a new heraldic Canadian Crown replacing the traditional St. Edward’s Crown used on Canada’s coat of arms, police & military badges. The design replaces what the government termed “religious symbols” (crosses & fleur-de-lis) with maple leaves & a snowflake.

The Canadian Heraldic Authority was apparently consulted in this process. Reactions so far have been mixed but mostly disapproving.

New Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta

On May 3, 2023 Fra’ John Dunlap the Lieutenant of the Order of Malta since 2022, was elected as Prince and 81st Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta. He is a 66-year-old Canadian and the first Professed Knight from the Americas to be elected as head of the Order. In accordance with the current Constitutions of the Order he will serve for a term of 10 years. Ad Multos Annos!