You’re viewing an article from The Oklahoman's newsroom. Print subscribers have Full Access to a premium experience at Oklahoman.com.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley’s Coat of Arms
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley chooses his Coat of Arms
The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley has chosen to join his personal coat of arms with those of his new archdiocese. This joining is symbolic of the marriage of an archbishop to his church.
The left side is that of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
The red of the field of the archdiocesan arms represents the Choctaw word for Oklahoma, which translates to “red peoples.” The silver cross represents the Christian faith, while the five red arrowheads represent the Five Civilized Tribes to whom Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma, was deeded during the removal of these tribes from their homelands in the South and southeastern United States. Five downward-facing arrowheads suggest peace and enlightenment, attributes of the Indian people in Oklahoma.
The other side of Coakley’s coat of arms represents his personal coat of arms. It is symbolic of his love and devotion to Christ and honors both his French maternal heritage and his paternal Irish birthright.
The top of his shield is dedicated to the Holy Eucharist. The color of deepest red represents the blood of Christ. Two sheaves of wheat represent the Eucharist and the people and landscape of Kansas, Coakley’s familial home.
Coakley honors the Mother of God and his own mother with the fleur-de-lis, the lily of France, which the church has used to symbolize the Virgin Mary.
The shield is divided by an inverted “V” of ermine, the heraldic emblem of the Coakley family in Ireland for several centuries. Ermine also represents the ecclesial title of “Christ the King.”
Also seen is the pilgrim’s hat, the emblem for all prelates and priests of the Latin Rite of the Church. For the rank of archbishop, the pilgrim’s hat is in deep green and has 10 tassels.
Behind Coakley’s coat of arms is the archiepiscopal cross. For archbishops, this cross has two transverse arms, the upper one shorter in width than the lower arm. The double-armed cross for archbishops came into the church in the seventh century.
Coakley’s personal motto is “Duc In Altum,” that translates as “Put out into the deep.” It can be found in the Gospel of Luke and relates to the moment in Scripture when Jesus, after teaching the crowds from Simon’s boat, invites the apostles to “put out into the deep” and lower their nets for a catch (Luke 5:4). Obedient to Jesus’ command, Simon Peter and his companions cast their nets as directed and “caught such a great number of fish that their nets were at the breaking point (Luke 5:6).”
SOURCE: Archdiocese of Oklahoma City