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The Coat of Arms


 Cardinal Dolan - COA
Arms impaled. Dexter: Argent; upon a saltair between four crosses Gules a mill-sail of the field. Sinister: Azure, upon a fess Argent a crown Gules between two scrolls Proper; in chief two crescents, the one to dexter of the second, the one to sinister Or; in base another crescent of the last.
The archiepiscopal heraldic achievement or archbishop’s coat of arms is composed of a shield with its charges (symbols), a motto scroll and the external ornamentation. 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 presented as if given by the bearer with the shield being worn on the arm. Thus, where it applies, the terms dexter and sinister are reversed as the device is viewed from the front.
By heraldic tradition the arms of the bishop, who is the “first among equals” of an ecclesiastical province, called a “Metropolitan Archbishop,” are joined, impaled, with the arms of his jurisdiction. In this case, these are the arms of the Archdiocese of New York.
These arms are composed of a silver (white) field on which is displayed a red saltair; a charge that resembles the letter “X.” This heraldic arrangement is known as a “Cross of St. Patrick,” and by its use honor is paid to the titular patron of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in New York City, the Cathedral-Church of the archdiocese. Upon the saltair is a silver (white) mill-sail (a wind mill), which is also seen in the seal of New York City, to reflect the Dutch heritage of its founders and that the City was originally known as “New Amsterdam.” Within the areas of the field created by the saltair are seen four small red crosses, for the Gospels, emblematic of the Church’s mission to bring “The Good News” to those entrusted to its care.
For his personal arms, Cardinal Dolan continues to use the design that was adopted upon his selection to receive the fullness of Christ’s priesthood, as a bishop, when he was appointed, ordained and installed as auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, and which he used during his tenure as Archbishop of Milwaukee.
The cardinal’s design is composed of a blue field on which is seen a silver (white) fess, a bar across the center of the design which is about one-third of the design. At the center of the fess is a red crown, taken from the arms of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the cardinal’s home, and which he first served in episcopal ministry. The crown is placed between two scrolls, that are described as “Proper,” or “as they appear in nature.” These scrolls are to honor the cardinal’s baptismal patron, St. Timothy, who was the recipient of two of St. Paul’s Epistles.
Above the fess are two crescents; one silver (white) and one gold (yellow), and one below which is also gold. The silver crescent honors our Blessed Mother, in her title of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States, and the charge is taken from the arms of the Pontifical North American College, in Rome, where Cardinal Dolan studied for the priesthood and later served for seven years as rector. The other two crescents, of gold, are taken from the Dolan family arms and honor the cardinal’s parents.
For his motto, Cardinal Dolan continues to use the Latin phrase, “AD QUEM IBIMUS.” By the use of these words taken from St. John’s Gospel (John 6:68), Cardinal Dolan takes the words of St. Peter as was said to Jesus, “LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO,” for truly the Lord is the way to all and eternal happiness.
The achievement is completed with the external ornaments which are a gold archiepiscopal processional cross that has two cross-members, that is placed in back of and which extends above and below the shield, and the Pontifical hat, called a “gallero,” with its fifteen tassels, in five rows, on either side of the shield, all in red. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of cardinal by instruction of the Holy See of March 31, 1969.
Deacon Paul J. Sullivan
Permanent Deacon of the Diocese of Providence