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Our Bishop

Coat of Arms

Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe, D.D., J.C. D.

The bishop's coat of arms combines the diocesan coat of arms on the left with his personal coat of arms. The joining of the arms of the diocese with Bishop Pepe’s personal arms signifies the spiritual union of a bishop with his See.

There are four distinct areas of interest within his personal arms. On the top of this side is seen a carpenter’s square representing St. Joseph, his patron saint. Just below it, stands a lily representing St. Anthony of Padua, a patron saint. The bar with three balls marked with crosses is taken from the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The three balls are originally from the coat of arms of William Penn, an original European settler and proprietor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The balls are adopted for the arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and adapted for this purpose by the addition of a cross on each ball. The large cross on the bottom right celebrates the four hundredth anniversary of the Church in the Southwest when the first Franciscan friars, accompanied by Spanish soldiers and settlers, met and convened with the Native Americans at San Ildefonso Pueblo in 1598 on the Rio Grande. The cross itself is in the Southwestern style of New Mexico. The spiraling in the cross - a style known as Solomonic, is reminiscent of the cord worn as part of the Franciscan’s habit. The flower in the center of this cross is from the Aztec religion’s sign of deity. Since the Aztec culture was influential along the Rio Grande, the flower was recognized by Native Americans in that region as a symbol for divinity, fulfillment truth and beauty. The same flower is found on the robe of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe). It is positioned over her womb where the Infant Child awaits birth. The artist who designed the cross was Reverend Timothy Martinez, a priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

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