Bishop Loverde’s Coat of Arms

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This explanation was prepared by Deacon Paul J. Sullivan, a permanent deacon from the Diocese of Providence.

Significance

The episcopal heraldic achievement of the bishop's coat of arms is composed of a shield, with its charges (symbols), a motto scroll and the external ornaments. The shield, which is the central and most important feature of any heraldic device, is described (blazoned) in 12th-century terms, that are archaic to modern language, and this description is done as if being given by the bearer with the shield being worn on the arm. Thus, it must be remembered, where it applies, that the terms dexter and sinister are reversed as the device is viewed from the front.

By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese, called the "ordinary," are joined to the arms of his jurisdiction, seen in the dexter impalement (left side) of the shield. In this case, these are arms of the Arlington Diocese.

These arms are composed of a blue field on which are displayed a silver (white) fess (bar across the middle), with engrailed edges on both sides, and on that fess is a red bar. The use of these colors, red, white and blue, the colors of our nation's flag, are to reflect the extreme proximity of the Arlington See City to the Nation's Capital and the close connection of that See City and its people to the government of the United States. The engrailed edges of the fess are taken from the arms of St. Thomas More, titular of the Cathedral Church of Arlington. Above and below the fess are a silver star and silver crescent, both symbols of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because Our Blessed Mother is the Patroness of the diocese and of the United States. The star above the fess is encircled by 10 smaller stars to represent Virginia, which was the 10th state admitted to the Union.

For his personal arms, seen in the sinister impalement (right side) of the shield, Bishop Loverde has retained the arms that he adopted at the time that he was ordained to the priesthood, when he was named to be auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., and which he used during his tenure as bishop of Ogdensburg, N.Y.

The design's background, called a field, is green to reflect that the English translation of the bishop's Italian surname means "the green one." On this field are an interlaced silver (white) anchor, the symbol of hope, and a gold (yellow) "M," the monogram of the Blessed Virgin Mary, taken from the arms of Pope John Paul II, who appointed Bishop Loverde to the episcopacy during the Marian Year of 1987-88. This conjoined symbolism, which is actually taken from a design on the bishop's chalice, states, graphically, that our hope comes from Christ through Mary in her title of Our Lady of Hope, a title that has been a particular favorite of Bishop Loverde since his childhood. This charge additionally resembles the "Resurrection Cross," the complete symbol of Christian hope, for it was by the Resurrection that Christ, Our Lord, gave us all the hope of eternal life.

Above and to the left of the anchor and "M" is a silver star to represent Polaris, the North Star. This device is taken from the arms of the Diocese of Norwich, whose name means "North Town," and reflects that before his call to the episcopacy, Bishop Loverde was a priest of this eastern Connecticut diocese.

At the bottom of the bishop's personal arms are some blue and silver wavy bars, the heraldic representation of water, taken from the arms of the Archdiocese of Hartford, where he served as an auxiliary bishop. The wavy bars are also used to represent the Pawcatuck River at the bishop's home town of the same name. Coming forth from the water are three gold hills to honor the Italian heritage of the bishop's parents, Paul and Ann Marie "Mary" (Conti) Loverde, because the bishop's father came from the village of Pollina and his two maternal grandparents came from the villages of Tusa and San Mauro Castleverde, all of which are within eyesight of each other in the hills of Sicily.

For his motto, Bishop Loverde uses the phrase "Encourage and Teach with Patience," which is taken from St. Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy (2 Tim 4:2). By the use of this phrase the bishop expresses, as a bishop, that it is his duty and calling by God to encourage and teach the faith to those who need it, with the gentle patience that each of God's children may need.

The device is completed with the external ornaments: a gold processional cross placed in back of the shield and extending above and below the shield, and a pontifical hat, called a gallero, with its six tassels, in three rows, on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop by instruction of the Holy See, March 31, 1969.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015