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COAT OF ARMS



 

Archbishop John J. Myers’ motto is: Mysterium ecclesiae luceat - “Let the mystery of the Church shine forth!”

His personal coat of arms, represented by the right side of the shield, consists of a green background on which is charged an eagle’s head enhaloed and tinctured in gold. In the upper portion of the shield are two silver crescents and in the base is a silver roundel.

The eagle’s head is the traditional symbol of St. John the Evangelist, honoring the baptismal patron of the archbishop’s father and the Archbishop. The eagle’s head represents the higher vision which faith brings to life and the hope we should have in the face of difficulties.

The silver roundel in the base is a symbol of the Gospel, the “pearl of great price,” and our striving for the Kingdom of Heaven as recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew, 12:45-46. As the eagle’s head honors the archbishop’s father, the pearl honors his late mother Margaret, whose name means pearl.

The two silver crescents in the chief, or upper part of the shield, honor the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the “Immaculate Conception,” patroness of the North American College in Rome where Archbishop Myers prepared for ordination, and the Catholic University of America, where he earned his doctorate in Canon Law, and the United States of America. These crescents memorialize the Archbishop’s devotion to Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church. The green surface of the shield recalls the verdant fields of his birthplace and his Irish heritage.

The Archbishop chose the motto, “Mysterium Ecclesiae Lu-ceat: translated, “Let the Mystery of the Church shine forth,” as a succinct summary of the central theme of the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. The first chapter of the document is entitled “The Mystery of the Church” and begins with the proclamation that Christ is the light of humanity,” and continues to state: “The Church - that is the kingdom of Christ - already present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world. All people are called to union with Christ, who is the light of the world, from whom we go forth, through whom we live and toward whom our whole life is directed!” The first encyclical of Pope Paul VI, “Ecclesiam Suam,” states that the Church “is a storehouse of God’s hidden counsels which the Church must bring to light!” Pope John Paul II also states in his first encyclical, “Redemptor Hominis,” that “The Church’s fundamental function in every age and particularly ours is to direct man’s gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity towards the mystery of God.” These papal encyclicals inspired Archbishop Myers’ choice of motto.

The external ornaments are composed of the green pontifical hat with its 10 tassels on each side, disposed in four rows, and a gold processional cross.

The left side of the shield displays the jurisdictional arms of the Archdiocese of Newark, based on the coat of arms of Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, to reflect the origins of the name of the See City. The upper portion of the arms of the Archdiocese includes a silver crescent between two silver trefoils (heraldic shamrocks). The crescent is to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Archdiocese, the United States of America and the major seminary of the Archdiocese. This ancient symbol of Mary is derived from the Book of Revelations 12:1: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.” The shamrocks are to honor St. Patrick, titular patron of the Pro-Cathedral; and the red background of the chief is to signify the blood coming forth from Christ’s Sacred Heart, the title of the Cathedral-Basilica of Newark.

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