Bishop Coyne's Coat of Arms
The Coat of Arms of His Excellency,
The Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne, S.L.D.
Tenth Bishop of Burlington
In accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s heraldic tradition, the coat of arms of a Bishop is normally composed of:
- A shield with its charges (symbols) coming from family, geographic, religious and historical meanings and/or referring to the name of the Bishop;
- A golden processional cross, with one traversal bar, to represent the rank of Bishop, “impaled” vertically behind the shield;
- A green hat (galero) with 12 (six on each side) attached tassels, graded 1; 2; 3 from top to bottom;
- A banderole (banner) with the episcopal motto, written in black, located beneath the shield.
Here it has been chosen a shield in samnitic shape, frequently used in the Roman Catholic Church’s heraldry and a botonny processional cross with five red stones, representing the five wounds of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Episcopal Motto, “TRUST IN THE LORD”
Bishop Coyne chose the phrase “TRUST IN THE LORD” from the Book of Proverbs 3:5. By choosing this motto, Bishop Coyne reminds all believers that they are able to rely upon the love and mercy of God even in the most difficult and trying of times.
The Heraldic Description of the Coat of Arms of Bishop Coyne
The right side of the shield (in the heraldic shield, the right and left are exchanged from the observer’s point of view, since it is customary to consider the right and the left side from the perspective of the soldier who, in ancient times, held his own shield), represents the coat of arms of the Diocese of Burlington and is composed of a green field, which meets a gold chief (upper one-third of the design) at a jagged line, called “dancette,” to give the impression of green mountain peaks, thus honoring the Green Mountain State of Vermont, which is the Diocese of Burlington. Below the mountain is a golden stag’s head that is taken from the arms of Lord Cavendish, Earl of Burlington, for whom the See City is named. Between the stag’s antlers, as seen in the arms of the Archdiocese of Boston, is a golden cross fleuretty. This cross, honoring the French missionaries who first brought The Faith to the region, signifies that the first priest to be stationed in the service of the people of Vermont, Father Jeremiah O’Callaghan, was sent by Boston Bishop Benedict Fenwick. In 1853 the Diocese of Burlington was established, as part of the Province of Baltimore, but in 1875 with the creation of the Archdiocese of Boston, the See of Burlington was transferred to become part of the new province.
The left side is occupied by the personal heraldry of Bishop Coyne; upon a blue (azure) field is Bishop Coyne’s coat of arms which blends images representing his love for God, family genealogy and ministry history in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Bishop Coyne’s grandfathers were Irish and his grandmothers were French. The coat of arms reflects those two heritages with the Celtic cross and the fleur de lis. The Celtic cross also calls to mind the centrality of the cross in the history of salvation and the sacrifice of Jesus which brings redemption. The fleur de lis also represent Mary, the Mother of our Savior, and Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Finally, the blue (azure) field also calls to mind Mary, the Immaculate Conception, under whose patronage the Diocese of Burlington has been placed.
The pontifical hat, also called a “saturno,” a “cappello romano,” or a “galero,” with its six tassels in three rows on either side of the shield, all in green, completes the design. These are the insignia proper to a heraldry of a prelate of the rank of Bishop, by instruction of the Holy See, on March 31, 1969.