The Coat of Arms of
His Excellency, the Most Reverend
John George Vlazny, D.D.
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon


Blazon:

Arms impaled. Dexter: Per fess Azure and Argent, on a fess wavy Gules three mullets of six points of the second and in chief a crescent of the second.  Sinister: Azure, issuant from base an eagle displayed Or below to dexter a  castle tower and to sinister a rosebud Argent.

 

                                                                              Significance:

    The archepiscopal heraldic achievement, or the archbishop'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 our 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 (right) and sinister (left) are reversed as the device is viewed from the front.

    By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop or archbishop of a See are joined to the arms of his jurisdiction, in this case the arms of the Archdiocese  of Portland in Oregon.

    These arms are based on the coat of His Holiness, Pope Gregory XVI who was the Supreme Pontiff at the time that the region was first established as a Vicariate Apostolic in 1843, later becoming the Archdiocese of Oregon City in 1846. These arms, composed of three sections, in the red,  white and blue of the American flag, depict by means of the red wavy bar across  the center, the Red River of Canada from which region the first Catholic  missionaries came to the area that is now Oregon. On this bar are three six  pointed silver stars, to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary and above the wavy bar,  on the blue field, is the silver crescent representing Mary, in her title of the  Immaculate Conception, titular of the
Cathedral Church in Portland.

           For his personal arms, seen in the sinister impalement (right side of  the shield), His Excellency, Archbishop Vlazny has retained the design adopted  at the time of his selection to receive the fullness of Christ's priesthood as  an Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and which he retained during his tenure as Bishop  of Winona in Minnesota.

     The background of the design, known as the field, is blue to remind all of  the waters of Lake Michigan at Chicago. On this field is a gold eagle coming  forth from the bottom of the shield. This eagle is to honor the Archbishop's  baptismal patron, St. John the Evangelist.

     The eagle is displayed below a silver castle tower to represent Hradceny  Castle, in Bohemia, outside of Prague, to pay particular honor to the  Archbishop's Bohemian heritage. Next to the castle tower is a silver rosebud to  honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who sent  roses with her messenger, Blessed Juan Diego, as the sign to the Bishop of Mexico City that she had indeed appeared to him and that Our Lady's message to  the Bishop was indeed true. The Archbishop's particular devotion to Our Lady of  Guadalupe came after spending 13 years ministering in the Hispanic communities of Chicago before he was selected to be the Rector of Niles College of Loyola University, the office he was holding at the time of his selection to be an Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago.

     The device is completed with the external ornaments which are a gold  processional cross, that has two cross members, called an archepiscopal cross,  placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and  with the pontifical hat, called a "gallero," with its ten tassels in four rows,  on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a  prelate of the rank of archbishop by instruction of the Holy See of  March 31,1969.

Motto:

    For his motto, His Excellency, Archbishop Vlazny, has adopted the phrase "GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES." This phrase, which is taken from the 28th Chapter of St.
Matthew's Gospel, is the title of the American Bishops' National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization. It is also from the Gospel that is used during the Rite of
Baptism. For it is from our baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ that we are all charged, by the nature and the fact of our being Christians, with the task of bringing the Good News, by what we do and how we do it, into the world and to those that are in need of hearing its saving message.

The Archbishop's Coat of Arms was designed by Deacon Paul J. Sullivan, President  of P. Sullivan & Co. of Narragansett, RI. Reverend Mr. Sullivan is a Permanent Deacon of the Diocese of Providence.
 
 

 

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