Bishop Cahill's Coat of Arms
Azure, on a cross argent
A lighthouse vert with beacon
Or, in chief dexter a crescent of the fourth, sinister a rose gules.
The episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield, that is the central and most im-portant part of the design and tells to whom the design belongs, the external ornamentation, that tells the owner’s position or rank, and a motto, placed upon a scroll. By heraldic tradition the design is described (blazoned) as if being done by the bearer with the shield being worn on the arm. Thus, where it applies the terms
“sinister” and “dexter” are reversed as the design is viewed from the front. For the bishop of a dio-cese, known as an Ordinary, his personal arms are joined (impaled) with the arms of his jurisdic-tion; in this case the Diocese of Victoria.
The Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Victoria displays a blue field with a silver (white) cross upon which is blazoned a green lighthouse with a red turret and gold beacon. The field is the color of sky and water, to speak of peace and unity, qualities already attributed to the people, and herein established for the diocese. The cross points to the rich tradition of faith brought to the region by European settlers who landed at Indianola, a site of significant entry of immigrants that first en-tered in this region of southern Texas and where the historic lighthouse still stands. The early German, Czechs, Polish, Irish, and others joined the Mexican people in making faith and love of family life, attributes that abound even today. Green, the color of hope, designates the lighthouse as a
symbol of hope, while the golden beacon of light stands for Jesus, the Light of the World, calling the people to Himself and illuminating their paths through the darkness. Historically, the families of this diocese have produced numerous vocations to the religious life and priestly life. The beacon repre-sents this “call to service” of Christ in the Church, through religious life and family life as well. Just as the city of Victoria, the center of the diocese and episcopal seat, has been called “The Crossroads,” so too the cross can be read as convergence of paths, paths on which the pilgrim People of God travel to meet Christ, their Center. In the section to the upper left of the cross quadrate is a gold (yellow) decrescent (a specific heraldic term meaning the crescent moon’s horns point to sinister (that is right as seen from the front). The gold crescent designates the geographic area of the Gulf Coast, some-times called the Golden Crescent or the Crescent Valley, to honor the specific section of southern Texas where Victoria is located. To the upper right (chief sinister) is a red rose, with green barbs and golden (yellow) seeds, to honor our Most Blessed Mother, the Holy Virgin Mary, in her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe; Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas, as well as naming her special patroness of the diocese. In displaying the two charges together, the shield recalls the traditional im-age of Our Lady, in which she is seen standing on a crescent moon, hereby acknowledging her gentle dominion over the people of the crescent diocese.
For his personal arms, seen in the dexter impalement (right side) of the design, Bishop Cahill has opted to recognize the heritage of his family, now joined to the Diocese of Victoria. The upper half of the design is divided into two halves to represent the two branches of the Cahill family. The upper quarter is blue and displays a silver (white) whale and the lower quarter is composed of six
triangles in the two alternating colors of green and silver (white). The lower half of the Bishop’s de-sign is red and displays a lion rampant, reared up on his hind legs, between two swords, all in silver (white). This represents the Bishop’s mother’s side of the family, the Dempseys.
For his motto, His Excellency, Bishop Cahill has adopted the Latin phrase: COR MUNDUM CREA IN ME DEUS. This phrase, from the 51st Psalm, expresses Bishop Cahill’s deep confidence in the mercy of God. St. Augustine wrote that this penitential Psalm reminds us that no sin is too great for God to forgive and God’s desire is to continually create anew. The phrase prayed every Friday morning in the Liturgy of the Hours, translates in English as “Create in me a clean heart Oh God.”
The achievement is completed with the external ornaments that are a gold (yellow) proces-sional cross, that extends above and below the shield, and a pontifical hat, called a galero, 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 1969.