Bishop Morin's Coat of Arms - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

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Bishop Morin's Coat of Arms

Armorial Bearings of the Most Reverend Roger Morin, DD
Third Bishop of Biloxi, Mississippi

BLAZON: Arms impaled. To dexter: Or, a lighthouse Argent between to dexter a pine tree Vert and to sinister a crescent encircled by twelve stars all Azure. On a base wavy Azure a fishnet Argent lined Sable, thereupon an anchor between two fish hauriant and addorsed, all Or. (Biloxi) Impaling to sinister: Argent on a fess Gules a cross potent Or between in chief three fleur-de-lis and in base the monogram of Our Lady all Azure. (Morin) The shield is ensigned with an episcopal cross Or in pale behind the shield and surmounted by a galero with cords and six tassels on either side in three rows of one, two and three all Vert. On a scroll below the shield is the motto: "Walk Humbly And Act Justly".

EXPLANATION: The bishop's coat of arms, is composed of a shield upon which there are symbolic charges, a motto and the external ornaments of rank. The shield which is the most important feature of any heraldic device is blazoned (i.e. described) in heraldic language from the point of view of the bearer with the shield being held on his arm. Therefore, the terms dexter (right) and sinister (left) are reversed as the arms are viewed from the front.

It is customary in North America for the coat of arms of the bishop and those of his diocese to be marshaled together and depicted on the same shield. The coat of arms of Bishop Morin and the Diocese of Biloxi are displayed side by side which is called impaling the arms. In addition to being the most common method used in North America it is also one of the ways to depict the coats of arms of two spouses so using impalement shows that the bishop is "married" to his diocese.

The left side of the shield shows the arms of the diocese of Biloxi which depict a gold (yellow) field on which is a silver (white) lighthouse, the famous landmark on the beach at Biloxi. To the left of the lighthouse is a green pine tree emblematic of the forestry and lumber industries that are of great significance in the diocese. To the right if the lighthouse is a crescent surrounded by twelve stars, all in blue, to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the diocese. The base of the diocesan arms is a blue, wavy base symbolic of the Gulf of Mexico. On this base is a silver fishnet containing two gold fish to signify the fishing industry along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Contained in the fishnet is also a gold anchor, the symbol of hope, reminding us that our hope is in the Lord, Jesus Christ.

For his personal arms, seen in the sinister impalement (right side) of the shield Bishop Morin, has adopted a design to reflect his religious devotion and priestly ministry.The arms are composed of a silver (white) field with a large red horizontal bar across the center. On this red bar, called a "fess" is a simple gold (yellow) cross in the form known as "potent". This shows the centrality of the cross of Christ and symbolizes the power of the faith grounded in and guided by the Holy Spirit. In the upper section are three blue fleur-de-lis. These allude to the life and priestly ministry the bishop exercised in the archdiocese of New Orleans before becoming bishop of Biloxi. In the lower section is a blue monogram composed of the letter "M" intertwined with a cross. This monogram of Our Lady is taken from the reverse side of the Miraculous Medal manifested to St. Catherine Labouré. The bishop included this to show his devotion to the Mother of God.

For his motto, Bishop Morin has selected the phrase "WALK HUMBLY AND ACT JUSTLY." This phrase is taken from the prophecy of Micah 6:8.

The shield is ensigned with a gold (yellow) episcopal cross. Such crosses resemble processional crosses but they are, in fact, different. In the Middle Ages such a cross was carried directly in front of all metropolitan archbishops and Papal Legates as a symbol of their authority. Eventually all bishops began using this emblem and adopted it in their coats of arms as well. The episcopal cross ceased to be used in the late XIX Century but the cross behind the shield is the true emblem of episcopal heraldry. In addition, above the shield is the green ecclesiastical hat called a "galero" with twelve tassels pendant on both sides. This broad brimmed hat, once worn in cavalcades, is no longer used but remains as a heraldic emblem. The original color worn by bishops and archbishops was green, not purple. This "episcopal color" is retained in heraldry. These external ornaments are those used for a prelate with the rank of bishop according to the Instruction of the Holy See, "Ut Sive", of March, 1969.

Bishop Morin's original coat of arms was redesigned and marshaled to those of the diocese of Biloxi and emblazoned by the Rev. Fr. Guy W. Selvester, a priest of the diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey.

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