4000 Derry Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17111
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Symbolism of the Heraldic Design
The Arms Proper
The Parochial Arms for the church of Saint Catherine Labouré of the Diocese of Harrisburg in the commonwealth and the ecclesiastical province of Pennsylvania are unique to the parish, no one else may ever adopt or assume them as their own and yet because the rubrics of the Catholic Church require that parishes have a coat of arms that depict images directly associated with the titular saint or patron of that place, the arms of St. Catherine Labouré must naturally incorporate images found on the Miraculous Medal which had been first entrusted to her by the Blessed Virgin Mary. With this said, the exact image on the Miraculous Medal may not be assumed by anyone as it is owned and protected by the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. And so, with this said a new shield had to be created but at the same time it had to be one that was immediately identified with the titular of the parish.
The shield of the new parish coat of arms incorporates four images found on the Medal, the Marian monogram, the stars from Sacred Scripture (as ascribed to Mary in the Apocalypse: 12-13), and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary side by side. These emblems speak for themselves in the Catholic world and take no new significance in this parish design. As emblems, known in heraldry as charges, these are the closest images associated with St. Catherine Labouré. The shield is worked in blue and in gold. Gold represents the Divinity of the Trinity and is the most precious of all metals and the most important in Catholic heraldry. Upon this gold field is found the Marian cipher, a letter “M” surmounted by a Christian Cross, an image presented to St. Catherine by the Virgin Mary Herself. It is worked in Marian blue as it represents the BVM specifically.
The blue field above represents the Blessed Virgin, of course, but more so in Her title of Our Lady of Grace. Upon this field will appear the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, linked theologically as Mary always stood beside her Son. They are rendered in gold to elevate them to the importance of their place in the Church. These two images associated with the Miraculous Medal are surrounded by the twelve stars that surround Mary’s head as a halo in many Marian images, most definitely those associated with Her as Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal as seen on the obverse of the medal itself. Both hearts suffer and bleed for the world.
The shield has been divided by a device known in heraldry as per chevron embowed. This device creates a center peak inside the shield. There is no spiritual or theological purpose for this division line in this parish design; it was selected by the designer for beauty and balance more than anything else.
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