Coat of Arms of new Las Cruces bishop and its meaning

The Coat of Arms of His Excellency The Most Reverend Oscar Cantu, S.T.D.


"Zeal for the Lord's house consumes me"

"Celo por la casa del Señor me consume"


Upon a field party per fess Azure and Vert two crosiers in saltair, the one per bend a bishop's crosier Or and the one per bend sinister, a veiled abbot's crosier

Argent; upon a table Sable a host and chalice Proper all upon a fess overall of the fourth.


The episcopal heraldic achievement or bishop's coat of arms is composed of a shield with its charges (symbols), a motto scroll and the external ornamentation.

The shield, which is the central and most important feature of any heraldic device, is described (blazoned) in 12th century terms, that are archaic to our modern language, and this description is presented as if given by the bearer with the shield being worn on the arm. Thus, where it applies, the terms dexter and sinister are reversed as the device is viewed from the front.

For his personal arms, His Excellency, Bishop Cantu has adopted a design to reflect his life and ministry as a priest. On a silver (white) field across the center of the design, called a "fess," is a black table on which is displayed a gold chalice and silver host, for the Eucharist, the central feature of priestly ministry. These charges are used to signify that the table, in the home and as an altar, are where family gathers and it has always been the most important place for the Cantu family and for the family of Christ.

The fess is placed on a field that is blue on top and green on the bottom.

Upon this split field are two crosiers; a gold bishop's crosier and a simple silver abbot's veiled crosier. These are to honor Saint Ansgar, who served God's church as a Benedictine abbot before he was called to become Bishop of Hamburg.

Abbots used a veiled crosier because in ancient days bishop's worn gloves at certain ceremonies which abbots did not and the veil was to keep the abbot's hands clean for worship.

His Excellency, Bishop Cantu has selected for his motto the Latin phrase


ME." This phrase, taken from the 69th Psalm expresses the Bishop's firm belief that in all that he does for God the "zeal for the Lord's house consumes me."

The achievement is completed with the external ornaments which are a gold episcopal processional cross, that is placed in back of and which extends above and below the shield, and the pontifical hat, called a "gallero," 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 31, 1969.

—By Deacon Paul J. Sullivan

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