CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF IJEBU ODE
EPISCOPAL COAT OF ARMS
Following the Catholic heraldic custom, the Bishop has chosen a Coat of Arms that captures his Episcopal Mission – comprising of a shield with its symbols, a scroll with the Bishop’s motto, and the external ornaments.
Horizontally, the shield is divided into two. The upper part is further divided into two vertically. The lower part consists of a green field that is nourished by the water of a river, which represents the faithful of the Diocese, their land and rivers. It is also a recognition of the Church in Ijebuland as a fulfillment of the Oracle of God: they spread out like palm groves, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedars beside the waters. (Num 24:6). The Bishop acknowledges the contributions of his predecessors in the Diocese in establishing and sustaining the Local Church as a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruits in its season, and its leaf does not wither… (Ps 1:3). Thus, this choice becomes an invitation to all the faithful in the Diocese to journey along with him to the spring of living water (Cf. Ezek 47).
The design in the right column of the upper part of the shield pays homage to the centrality of the Sacred Scripture and the Holy Eucharist in the Church. This is a way to depict the Bishop’s devotion to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist and his total submission to the revealed Truth of God as ‘a lamp to his feet and a light’ to his Episcopal Mission (Cf. Ps 119:105).
By employing the Marian symbol, represented by the letter ‘M’ and the crown, the second column pays homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen and Mother – the Star of Evangelization, under whose guide the Bishop wishes to transform the nourishments from the tables of God’s Word and the Sacraments into pastoral energy for the evangelization of the people.
The binding frame of the shield is worked in gold, which in heraldic tradition connotes the virtues of faith, obedience and humility, the same virtues the Bishop wants to promote in the exercise of his Episcopal ministry.
The Bishop’s motto DOMINE, FAC ME SERVUM PACIS TUAE (LORD, MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF YOUR PEACE) is a famous prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. The choice of the motto goes beyond St. Francis being the Bishop’s Patron Saint. It is chosen in complete imitation of his life and ministry in the humble service of God through the pastoral, temporal and spiritual care of the entire flock entrusted to him.
Placing the Motto on a golden scrolls show that, as an apostle of the precious gift of peace given by Jesus Christ to his Apostles (Cf. Jn 20:19), the Bishop wishes to consecrate himself totally in faith, obedience and humility to God as an instrument of God’s peace in his mission.
The Coat of Arms is completed with the external ornaments, which consist of the symbol of Episcopal dignity − a golden Episcopal Processional Cross on which the shield reclines extends above and below the shield. The Cross represents the invitation to discipleship given by Christ to his followers and the symbol of salvation. The five red spots on the Cross represent both the five piercing wounds suffered by our Lord during the crucifixion, and the pain and hardship that may come the way of those who resolve to work for peace.
The Bishop’s Coat of Arms pays homage to Jesus’ giving up of his Spirit on the Cross, and the subsequent gifts of the Holy Spirit to his Missionary Bride (the Church). The rays emanating from the Cross are signs of the power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are indispensable help to workers of peace.
The Hat and Tassels signify the heraldic insignia of a Prelate of the Church whose rank is that of a Bishop. The green pontifical Galero (hat) with its six tassels, in three rows on either side of the shield − all in green, indicates continuity, freshness and fruitfulness in the Bishop’s pastoral ministry. The red interior of the Galero is the Bishop’s personal acceptance of interior martyrdom for the sake of pastoral efficacy.
The Coat of Arms expresses the vision and mission of the Bishop in the pastoral care of the Diocese. With it he asks for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and invokes the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and his Patron, Saint Francis of Assisi, that he may receive the graces needed to carry out his ministry as God’s instrument of peace in the Diocese.