Coat of Arms
Description of Bishop Weisenburger’s coart of Arms
The armorial achievement (coat of arms) for Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger is impaled with the arms of his new diocese. This joining of the two coats of arms symbolically
illustrates the union of a new bishop to his faithful. The left side of the shield is taken from the coat of arms of the Diocese of Tucson. It depicts a stag, borrowed from the Territorial Seal of the state of Arizona. The black tri-mount upon which the stag is presented indicates the Native American origin of the name “Tucson,” which means “at the base of the black hill.” The Missionary Cross of the Franciscan Order pays tribute to the early missionaries who brought Christianity to Arizona. The right side of the shield, along with surrounding embellishments, are all proper to Bishop Weisenburger’s coat of arms.
The main charge or emblem is the devotional image of the Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God.
The emblem sits atop the bishop’s personal shield in a space known as a chief—the space of primary importance on the shield. This particular homage to our Blessed Lord is so central to the Bishop’s spirituality that he chose it for the main charge as well as his motto:
Behold the Lamb of God. The Lamb of God image is depicted as at rest, known in heraldry as couchant, representing the peace that only Christ can bring to the world. In the hooves
of the Lamb and across his breast is tucked the crosier of the Good Shepherd, a most
appropriate emblem for a bishop of the church. The image rests upon a field of deep blue, the color in Catholic heraldry reserved for the Blessed Virgin Mary under her titles of the Mother of God, Mother of the Redeemer, and Mater Ecclesiae.
The base of the bishop’s personal shield is worked entirely in gold—the color in Catholic heraldry representing the purity of the Triune God, Divinity and truth. Upon this gold field appears a large stone arrowhead, depicted here as those that may be found in archeological
dig sites within the Tucson diocese’s borders. An arrowhead presented in the downward position is a heraldic sign of peace. Moreover, the arrowhead is worked in red, borrowing this color from the Tucson diocesan arms as a particular tribute to his new see. Red also represents the blood of the pierced heart of Saint Augustine, an homage to the patron saint of Tucson’s
Cathedral. The arrowhead serves as a secondary homage to Oklahoma, the bishop’s home state and home archdiocese. Upon the arrowhead sits the six-pointed star of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a secondary homage to the Diocese of Salina, which honors the Blessed Mother as their patron saint under this particular title.
In church heraldry, a cleric’s personal motto has always been intended to represent his
personal spirituality and theologically based philosophy of life and is most frequently grounded in Sacred Scripture. For Bishop Weisenburger, this symbolism is found in the words ~ Behold the Lamb of God which comes from the Latin ~ Ecce Agnus Dei. The motto is rendered both in English and Spanish, representing the blended linguistic and cultural community of the Tucson Diocese. References to the Lamb, the Lamb of God, and the lion-Lamb of God are found in the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the Book of Revelation. However, it was St. John the Baptist who first applied the title, Lamb of God, to the living Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, when he saw the Lord approaching him. On that day, at the approach of his cousin, John the Baptist proclaimed (John 1:29) “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Surmounting the shield of a bishop is the galero (pilgrim’s hat), always worked in deep forest green for a bishop’s arms, with six tassels suspended on either side of the hat in a pyramidal style. The cords that bind them are known as cordiere. The interior of the galero is always rendered in red, representing the clergy’s possible martyrdom for the vocation that they have accepted. The episcopal cross found behind this coat of arms is worked in gold and has three Fleur de Lys emblems emanating from it. The Fleur de Lys image represents the Blessed Virgin Mary while the particular design of the cross itself is known as the St. Edward the Confessor Cross, in honor of the Bishop’s patron saint.
The Bishop’s coat of arms was designed by the noted expert in ecclesial heraldry,
James-Charles Noonan, Jr.