Coat of Arms
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF MY COAT OF ARMS
1. MY MOTTO: “IN SPIRITU ET VERITATE – IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH (JN.4:24)
I was inspired to choose this motto by two great Encyclical Letters of Blessed Pope John Paul II which influenced me a lot in my priestly ministry, namely, “Dominum et Vivificantem”, (The Lord and Giver of Life) and “Veritatis Splendor” (The Splendour of Truth).
In the first Encyclical, Pope John Paul II dwells on the Holy Spirit as the source of all that exists in the Church and the one who animates the Church and its worship. The Holy Spirit is the Lord and the giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified. He explains the various gifts of the Holy Spirit and how all that we do in the Church can only bear fruit if it is done in the Spirit. No human being can handle the mysteries of Christ if he is not supported by the Spirit of God and so whatever we do or whatever we become is not by our might but by the Spirit of God.
In Veritatis Splendor, the Pope analyses the meaning of Truth which is summarized in Christ Jesus. The Truth which always shines out for everyone to see and that the Truth can never be hidden, and only the Truth can set us free. We must always stand for the Truth, says the Holy Father, even when people misunderstand us and when we go through suffering.
Pope John Paul II Presents Jesus Christ as the True Light that enlightens Everyone. He says “Called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the true light that enlightens everyone, people become light in the world, and children of light, and are made holy by obedience to the truth. This obedience is not always easy. As a result of that mysterious original sin, committed at the prompting of Satan, the one who is ‘a liar and the father of lies’ man is constantly tempted to turn his gaze away from the living and true God in order to direct it towards idols, exchanging the truth about God for a lie. Man’s capacity to know the truth is also darkened, and his will to submit to it is weakened. Thus giving himself over to relativism and skepticism, he goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself”.
I found these two concepts summarized perfectly by Christ in his discourse with the Samaritan woman at the well when he said to her that “God is Spirit, and all who worship God must worship him in Spirit and in Truth” (Jn.4:24)
In the sense of my Episcopal Motto, real worship, real service, real love, real communion and real friendship can only be in Spirit and in Truth.
2. COAT OF ARMS
2. My Coat of Arms is an explanation of my Motto in images. It is a shield containing five images that will guide my episcopate; viz, an X Cross, a dove, an open Bible, a crozier and the symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
2.1 THE SHIELD: The Shield represents the Shield of Faith which St. Paul refers to in Ephesians 6:16 when he says that “In all things, take up the shield of faith, with which you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one”. I am going to Mamfe as a Bishop only with the shield of faith in my hand and with this faith in Christ who has called me and sent me, I am not afraid.
2.2 THE X CROSS: This represents the X cross on which the Apostle Andrew was crucified because of his faith. The cross is red because it stands for martyrdom. I have put this to signify all the tribulations I have gone through in my priestly ministry and also to indicate that the Bishopric is not going to be a bed of roses, but that I am ready to face all trials and difficulties that will come my way with the prayers of my patron Saint, St. Andrew the Apostle.
2.3 THE WHITE DOVE: This stands for the Holy Spirit who came down upon Christ at his Baptism in Luke 3:22 and the rays stand for the tongues of fire that came over the Apostles at Pentecost in Acts 2:1-3. Becoming a Bishop is not by my might but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Whatever work I will be able to do in Mamfe will be done not by my power but by the power of the Holy Spirit who accompanies me. I believe very strongly that the power of the Holy spirit working in us can do infinitely more than we can ever ask or imagine.
2.4 AN OPEN BIBLE: “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God”(Jn.1:1) The Bible is the Word of God and it is open for all to read, discover and be led by the Truth. Jesus says in John 4:6 “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. The only way to fight falsehood is to preach and stand for the Truth. Christ is the only Truth and in him there is no falsehood. It is very important for me because many in our world today, like Pontius Pilate, stand before the Truth and cannot recognize it. Like my Master Jesus Christ, throughout my Episcopal ministry I am going to do my best to bear witness to the Truth. I will depend completely on the Spirit of Truth, whom Christ says when he comes, he will lead us to the complete Truth (Jn.16:13).
2.5 THE CROZIER: This signifies the staff of the Good Shepherd who is presented in Jn.10. Jesus says in Jn:10:11-12, “I am the Good Shepherd. The good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep. But the hired hand, and whoever is not a shepherd, to whom the sheep do not belong, he sees the wolf approaching , and he departs from the sheep and flees, And the wolf ravages and scatters the sheep.” This is what I intend to be, a good shepherd to all the priests, religious men and women, all Christ’s lay faithful, men and women of goodwill and all God’s children.
2.6 THE SYMBOL OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY: I have always committed my priesthood under the patroness and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and mother of Priests. Once again, and in a special way, I commit my episcopate to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose Son died on the cross for our salvation and who has called me to his service. It is for this reason that the background of my coat of Arms is blue because it is the colour of the mantle of Our Lady and blue is generally regarded as the color of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this regard, I join the Virgin Mary ever Blessed to sing; “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour…The Almighty has done great things for me, Holy is his Name. His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him. He puts forth his arm in strength and scatters the proud hearted. He casts the mighty from the thrones and raises the lowly.”(Lk.1:46-55).