The Coat of Arms of His Excellency, the Most Reverend
Robert Joseph McManus, D.D., S.T.D.
Bishop of Worcester
Arms impaled. Dexter: Azure, a cross fleuretty Or; on a chief Argent four torteaux per fess. Sinister: Azure, upon the Keys of Saint Peter, Proper, a moline cross Argent.
The episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop’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 presented 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 and sinister are reversed as the device is viewed from the front.
By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese are joined (impaled) with the arms of his jurisdiction, which are seen in the dexter impalement (left side) of the shield. In this case, these are the arms of the Diocese of Worcester, in Massachusetts.
These arms are composed of two sections that reflect the heritage of the diocese. The major portion is a blue field on which is seen a golden cross fleuretty (arms end in fleur-de-lis). This cross taken from the arms of the Diocese of Boston is employed to honor the Bishop Benedict J. Fenwick, S.J., who in 1850 directed that his religious society, the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) establish a men’s Catholic college, in central Massachusetts, in Worcester. The college was to be named consistent with His Excellency’ s personal devotion to "The Holy Cross," also the name of his Cathedral-Church of Boston. In 1950, when the Holy See established the Diocese of Worcester, with territory taken from the Diocese of Springfield,
the arms of the new diocese were established using symbols of the religious heritage of the region. The Holy Cross which was the central aspect of the preaching of Saint Paul, for whom the Cathedral in Worcester is named, was represented in such a way as to reflect the diocese’s roots in the See of Boston and was combined with a silver field on which are displayed four red plates, heraldically called "torteaux," [the word implies shape and color] a symbolism which is taken from the arms of the Diocese of Worcester, in England.
For his personal arms, His Excellency, Bishop McManus has retained the device that reflects his life as a priest and as a bishop and which was adopted at the time of his selection to receive the fullness of Christ’s Most Holy Priesthood as he became an Auxiliary Bishop of Providence.
The design is composed of four elements. The field is blue to honor the Bishop’s deep and profound devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom he has dedicated his life and service as a bishop. On this field is placed a silver (white) moline cross, a cross with arms that terminate in anchors. This charge, taken from the arms of the Diocese of Providence, is used to recall the territory which the Bishop served as a priest and as a bishop. The cross of Providence is placed on the crossed keys of St. Peter to reflect that it was on the Feast of the Chair of Peter that + Robert J. McManus was ordained as a bishop and that this self-described "man of the Church" received his doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
The fourth element of Bishop McManus’ design is the processional cross that, as for any bishop, is placed in back of the shield and which extended above and below the shield. The cross used here is a Celtic cross, with traditional knotwork, that is employed to reflect the Irish heritage that has come to The Bishop from his parents, Helen (King) McManus and the late Edward McManus.
For his motto, Bishop McManus uses phrase, "CHRISTUS VERITATIS SPLENDOR." This "Christ-centered" phrase expresses His Excellency’s deep belief that it is "Christ, the Splendor of Truth" who is our teacher, our guide and our mentor in all that we are and in all that we do, if we are to follow Him and we are to gain the Eternal Paradise that He has planned for those who love Him.
The device is completed with the external ornaments which are the processional cross, described above, and a pontifical hat, called a "gallero," with its six tassels, in three rows, on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop by instruction of The Holy See of March 31, 1969.
By: Deacon Paul J. Sullivan
N.B. - The author and designer respectfully requests appropriate acknowledgment for the public use of these efforts.
Rev. Mr. Sullivan is a Permanent Deacon
of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A..