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.
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.
are based on the coat of His Holiness, Pope Gregory XVI who was the Supreme
Pontiff at the time that the diocese was originally established as the
Archdiocese of Oregon City. 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, 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.