Monday, February 17, 2014

A Bishop's Coat of Arms

As we continue to explore the seven Sacraments in my 5th grade class, we are currently studying the Sacrament of Vocation.  Last week we covered Holy Orders, with a special emphasis on what it means to be a Bishop.  (You can visit this post for the printable notes we used on both topics, as well as how we incorporated making origami miters!)

I would be remiss to not talk about Fulton Sheen's role as a Bishop during this portion of our study, so we also spent a class exploring Sheen's coat of arms.  The kids enjoyed figuring out that every symbol and color had specific meaning.

"Coat of Arms?" you may be wondering...You can read all about Ecclesiastical Heraldry here.

This was Sheen's coat of arms, and we were able to talk about the meaning of his Latin motto, the double barred cross signifying his role as an Archbishop, the dove and globe as a nod to the meaning of his name as well as a desire for peace in the world, etc.

Click here for a set of coloring notes with details about the meanings of the symbols on FJS's coat of arms:
(my info on the symbols was taken from a book that we use in our classroom called Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a Man for All Media.)

Click here for the plain coloring notes without the written details: (this would be if you just want the kids to color in the coat of arms, or if they will have to copy their own notes like mine did...because I am a big meanie)
I am going to use this as a springboard for an enrichment activity for some of my students.  After learning about the meaning of a bishop's coat of arms and specifically looking at Fulton Sheen's, I am going to send them on a quest to find the meaning behind our own Bishop's heraldry.  You could easily do the same, and have your students share what they find with their classmates.  It also would be interesting to look for similarities and differences them.  They could also think about what would be included on their own personal coat of arms if they were able to create one.  Lots of possibilities!

For example, here is where I will send my students to start researching Bishop Daniel Jenky's Coat of Arms (from our home Diocese of Peoria).

 Here is an exploring sheet with some guiding questions for them to look for as they research: (You could make something very similar for your own Bishop if you are not from the Diocese of Peoria)
 Click here for the key to that document:
 You also could have the students design their own coat of arms.  Here is a blank outline to start with (this one happens to be for an Archbishop) or they could make their own.  Encourage them to use symbols and colors that would represent the kind of leader that they would want to be.  Have them come up with a motto from a favorite Scripture verse or quote.  Then have them present it to you or the class and explain their choices!


  1. Did you draw this, crazy talented lady?

    1. I call this work "trace-i-fied." Tracing and simplifying and sort of drawing.