Coat of Arms & Motto

Bishop Michael T. Martin’s Coat of Arms has the outline of a San Damiano Cross at the top of the processional cross. This is the cross that spoke to St. Francis of Assisi in 1205, saying to him: “Go, repair my Church for it is falling into ruin.”

The left side of the shield contains the emblems of the Diocese of Charlotte: a Celtic Cross as an homage to The Cathedral of St. Patrick, and a crown in reference to Charlotte as “the Queen City” in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818), queen consort of British King George III during the time of the city’s founding.

The right side of the shield has the Franciscan coat of arms at the center: an image of the crossed arms with nail wounds in the hands – one representing Christ and the other St. Francis of Assisi, who bore the Stigmata (wounds of Christ). There is also a form of the cross often depicted as the letter “T.” It is actually a “Tau,” the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. St. Francis of Assisi made the Tau his own and was known to even end letters by signing them with a T. This Franciscan symbol is centered within a field of black and gold, a quarter of the coat of arms of George Calvert and his son Cecil Calvert, the first and second Barons of Baltimore. Both were Catholics, with Cecil establishing the then Province of Maryland (Bishop Martin’s home state) as a proprietary colony for English Catholics who were no longer able to practice their faith freely at home.

The bottom of the Coat of Arms features Bishop Martin’s motto “Duc in Altum,” Latin for “Put Out Into the Deep,” from Luke 5:4.

The Coat of Arms was designed by Bishop Martin’s former student Brian Taberski, an education professor at Seattle University.

Read more: “Bishop Martin’s coat of arms harkens to his Franciscan background”

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