The Coat of Arms of His Excellency
The Most Reverend
Curtis John Guillory, S.V.D., D.D.
The episcopal heraldic achievement, or as it is more commonly known, the bishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield, with its charges (symbols), a motto scroll and the external ornaments. 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. This description is given as if being done by the bearer with the shield being worn on the arm. Thus, it must be remembered that the terms dexter and sinister are reversed as the device is viewed from the front.
By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese, called “the local bishop” or “the local ordinary,” are joined (impaled) with the arms of his diocese. In this case, these are the arms of the Diocese or Beaumont.
The background of these arms are a blue field on which is seen, issuing from the base of the shield, a beautiful golden (yellow) hill to cant, or play on, the name of the see city of Beaumont: “beautiful hill.” On this hill is a golden (yellow) vase that is charged with the Greek letters “X” (Chi) and “P” (Rho), in red. This vase is to signify an oil vial, such as would be used to store the sacred oils that are used in the administration of the sacraments.
It is through such oils, blessed from above, that are a means by which salvation is dispensed to God’s holy people. The vase also refers to the vast reserves of oil that constitute the basis for the region’s best-known industry.
Above the vase are a silver (white) star between two silver (white) roses. The star is taken from the flag and seal of the great State of Texas, “The Lone Star State,” and the roses are taken from the arms of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston from which the Diocese of Beaumont was erected in 1966.
For his coat of arms, Bishop Guillory has selected a design that brings together those elements of his life and his priestly service that have had the most significance for him. The shield is composed of three sections, which come together in the center, and which graphically represent the main theme of the Bishop’s motto of cooperation in the service of God and His church. These three sections of the shield, a red, green and black, which are the colors of the flag adopted by the Afro-Americans, reflect the Bishop’s black heritage and culture.
On the lower left portion of the shield, which is red, is a silver sprig of cotton to reflect the fact that Bishop’s family were cotton sharecroppers in Louisiana and that in his early life the Bishop worked in those cotton fields. Cotton, which is a strong plant, is also emblematic here of the Bishop’s mother, Theresa, the name which means “reaper”, and because of her strength, in giving birth to 16 children, the Bishop’s mother provided for her family with the strength and warmth, much like the fabric made from the fruits of the cotton plant, to allow her children to “reap” the fruits of their labors.
On the lower right side of the shield on a black background is a silver Acacia tree. This tree, which is found in the African desert and which survives in the harshest of conditions, because of its deep rootedness, is employed not only to represent the Bishop’s deep roots of his African culture, but also represents the Bishop’s father, Wilfred, who was able to rear his family, in the most severe of conditions, to be deeply rooted in the family and in the Faith.
On the upper portion of the shield, which is green, is the logo of the Society of the Divine Word, the Bishop’s religious community, which is composed of the global meridians surmounted by a cross, also in silver. This congregation, which serves as missionaries in over 54 countries throughout the world, has provided the Bishop with the environment in which he could grow and flourish as his second family.
For his motto, Bishop Guillory has selected the Latin phrase “diligentibus deum omnia cooperantur”, which as a shorter version is taken from Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Romans 8:28) and which means, “For those who love God all things work together for good.” By using this motto, Bishop Guillory prays that his episcopal service will assist all people to work together for the glory of God and for the good of His kingdom.