Category Archives: Marshaling

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.

Archbishop Jackels of Dubuque Retires

On April 4, the Holy Father accepted the resignation due to health reasons of the Most Rev. Michael Jackels, (68) Archbishop of Dubuque Iowa. His personal arms reflect his baptismal patron, St. Michael the archangel, combined with the unicorn from his paternal family’s coat of arms. When he first became a bishop his assumed arms impaled these two elements which was an odd choice. When he was translated to Dubuque he impaled his arms with those of the archdiocese and marshaled the other two elements in a manner that worked out to be aesthetically pleasing.

Archbishop Farrell of Dublin

On December 29, 2020 His Holiness Pope Francis appointed the Most Rev. Dermot Farrell (66), a priest of the Diocese of Meath and since 2018 Bishop of Ossory, Ireland to be the 51st Metropolitan Archbishop of Dublin. He succeeds Abp. Diarmuid Martin.

He had already assumed a coat of arms as Bishop of Ossory. The image below is not official but was a cut and paste job by me to see what his arms as archbishop will look like. In Ireland the archbishops of Armagh (who is the Primate of All Ireland) and of Dublin (who is the Primate of Ireland) use arms of the See that appear identical because this stems from a time when all archbishops tended to use arms depicting a pall (pallium) and a cross as symbols of being an archbishop. The archiepiscopal insignia then later became associated with certain metropolitical & archiepiscopal sees and it remains so to this day, including some (like the Church of Ireland Diocese of Dublin, or the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury) where it seems particularly incongruous. This is because the pallium is worn by Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archbishops as a symbol of sharing in the ministry of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and, as such, they receive it from him as a sign of their office.

Below we see what Archbishop Farrell’s coat of arms may well look like (or something close to this). I note that his predecessor, App. Martin, did not use a coat of arms.

Archbishops of Washington, DC

Here are the armorial bearings of the Archbishops of Washington, DC almost all of whom have been elevated to Cardinal with the notable exception of the first one, Archbishop Michael Curley who was also the Archbishop of Baltimore. At first the Archdiocese of Washington was part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Later, a dual archdiocese of Baltimore-Washington was created with Curley leading it. Eventually, Washington became a separate archdiocese but Curley was still appointed its archbishop making him, simultaneously, the archbishop of the oldest American diocese (Baltimore) and the newest at that time (Washington). A short time later Washington, DC received its own residential archbishop with the appointment of Patrick O’Boyle.

There is no coat of arms for Theodore McCarrick who is no longer a cardinal or even a cleric. A blank shield is used in place of his armorial bearings but his time in Washington in still noted because under Mr. McCarrick’s tenure the armorial bearings of the archdiocese were changed and that change, despite McCarrick’s disgrace, has been employed by his two successors as well. One can only hope that at some point in the future the original coat of arms of the archdiocese will be adopted again.

Archbishop Michael Curley (the archdiocesan arms hadn’t been adopted yet and Curley impaled his arms with those of Baltimore)
Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle
William Cardinal Baum
James Cardinal Hickey
Archdiocesan arms changed by Mr. Theodore McCarrick
Donald Cardinal Wuerl
Cardinal-Designate Wilton Gregory

Bishop Hicks of Joliet

On September 29, the Most Reverend Ronald A. Hicks (53), a priest and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, will be installed as the Sixth Bishop of Joliet, Illinois.

His personal coat of arms was assumed in 2018 when he became a bishop and was prepared at that time by the late Deacon Paul Sullivan. After being named to Joliet he asked me to help him by marshaling his existing arms with those of the See of Joliet.