Coat of Arm
INTRODUCTION: COAT OF ARMS AND EPISCOPAL MOTTO
While the Episcopal Motto of a Bishop points to his major area of interest in the pastoral ministry, his Coat of Arms is an ecclesiastical heraldry that symbolically explains the duties and responsibilities of a bishop as is manifested in his own vision of the episcopacy. It is made up of those symbols peculiar to his vision of his office. The inscription under the Coat of Arms of Bishop Ernest Anezichukwu Obodo reads: Ergo in Medio Vestrum Sum Sicut Qui Ministrat, “Behold I am here among you as one who serves” (Lk 22:27). This inscription corresponds to his episcopal motto. Bishop Ernest Anezichukwu Obodo´s Episcopal Coat of Arms consists of the following symbols:
- A red cap
This represents the two caps that are worn by the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and Abbots. These two caps include the Miter and Skull cap. The Miter is the liturgical cap worn by the above-named ecclesiastical hierarchs. The Miter consists of two pieces of stiff-woven clothes which come together when folded and separate from the top when open. The skull cap, on the other hand is a small semi-spherical cap which has different colours for different ecclesiastical authorities. The colour worn by each group of the Church Hierarchy differs from one another. For the Pope, it is white, for the Cardinals it is red, Bishops wear purple while Abbots put on black skull caps. The Miter signifies a headband or diadem. It points to the crown which St Paul said awaits those who have fought a good fight (2 Tim 4,7). The red cap in this coat of arm symbolizes the blood of Christ. It is a pointer to his participation in the redemptive blood of Christ
A red Cord:
In Bishop Ernest Obodo´s Coat of Arms, the red Cord is woven inside the red cap. It resembles the cinture or cord worn by Priests while celebrating the Holy Mass. Liturgically, the Cincture symbolizes chastity; an important virtue for the Priesthood and the Episcopal ministry. The colour red here is a symbol of the Blood of Christ; of the sacrifice which Christ made by his death on the Cross. It is also an invitation to Bishop Ernest and indeed to all Christians to take up their cross daily and follow the Lord Jesus Christ (Mk 8:34).
- IHS IN A ROUND MONSTRANCE WITH A CROSS ON TOP OF IT AND A CROSS BENEATH THE FLAME, SYMBOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The symbol IHS is based on the first three letters (iota-eta-sigma) of the Greek name for Jesus which first appeared in the works of Justinian around 7 Century AD. Jesus is the eternal High priest. He, it was who appointed his Apostles to go into the whole world and preach the Good News (Mk 16:15). Bishop Ernest, like “every High priest is chosen from among the people and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb 5:1).
The IHS is here inserted inside the symbol for Monstrance to depict the Bishop´s love for the Eucharist and the Eucharistic adoration. The Eucharist, as Vatican II teaches is the source and summit of the Christian life. It is the centre of the Church’s liturgical life. The symbol of the Cross at the top of the Monstrance is a sign of the Victory of the Lord Jesus over sin and death on the Cross. It is the central symbol of the Christian faith and mission.
- A SHIELD
Often, a shield is a sturdy piece of metal with straps or handles on one or both sides. It was an ancient weapon bound around a Roman soldier. It is a badge that protects him from the darts of arrows of the enemy. Its function is basically that of protection. Biblically, a shield is a pointer to protection against evils. The Psalmist sang: “The Lord is my strength and my shield” (Psalm 28:7). With the cross and monstrance outside the shield and the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd within the shield of his coat of arms, Bishop Ernest wants to point out that his episcopal ministry will have no protecting shield without Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, his cross and the Eucharist which he left for us as a memorial of his Passion. Bishop Ernest wishes to rely always on the strength which comes from the Lord and the prayers of God’s people especially the strength which comes from the celebration of the Eucharist.
- Jesus the Good Shepherd
The image of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Gospel of St John Chapter 10) is a strong biblical image used by Jesus to model for us the ideal of a good Church leader who is ready to sacrifice his life for his flock. It centres around the idea of sacrifice in the pastoral ministry, compassion and kindness towards God’s people. This corresponds to Bishop Ernest´s Motto: “Behold, I am here among you as one who serves” (Lk 22:27). He wants to show that there is no successful ecclesial leadership without service and sacrifice. Pope St John Paul´s Post Synodal Apostolic Exultation: Pastores Dabo Vobis -“I will give you Shepherds after my own heart,“ is today still an inspirational magisterial teaching which points to the fact that pastors should be ready to share the joys and sorrows of those they lead. Bishop Obodo is also inspired in choosing this symbol by the wise counsel of Pope Francis wrote in Evangelii Gaudium, that pastors should have the smell of the sheep by being close to God’s people and being ever ready to bandage their wounds like the Good Shepherd.
- HILL AND A LIFE TREE
In this Coat of Arm, Jesus the Good Shepherd could be seen leading his sheep along a hill towards a tree. The hill in this Coat of Arm represents the Udi Hills which surround the beautiful city of Enugu. The Udi range of hills rise about 240 metres above sea level. It was the site of the first coal mine in Enugu in 1915 and stretches from Udi through Awgu into Okigwe in Imo State. In this Coat of Arms, Jesus the Good Shepherd is seen leading his flock through the rough clefts of a hill towards the shade of a live tree. Bishop Ernest wants to show by means of this image that he wants to imitate Jesus the Good shepherd who is ready to go with his flock through the ups and downs of their spiritual and moral life as well as through all their difficult physical situations in life.
- Image of a farmer.
The parable of a farmer going out to sow seeds (Mtt 13:3) is an important imagery for Bishop Ernest. Planting and harvesting symbolize what happens in the life of every human being. By cultivation and planting, new life is nurtured until it grows to maturity and is harvested for the support of human life. The Latin etymology of the word, ´Culture´ is “Cultura.” It is a feminine noun of the first declension which means care, training, education, tilling the ground / cultivation / agriculture and so on. Figuratively, it means the cultivation of virtues through education, catechesis, training and discipline; through systematic improvement of human life. It points to civilization of mind and character. Bishop Ernest wants integral education, self-reliance and integral human development to constitute essential focus of his episcopal ministry.
- THE DOVE AND FLAME
Theologically, the Dove and the flames of fire are the two most important images used for the Holy Spirit. They have biblical antecedents. A dove brought olive branches to Noah (Gen 8:11) to symbolize that God´s anger has ceased and that he makes peace with men. At the baptism of Jesus, the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and the voice of the father confirmed Jesus messiahship. The Acts of the Apostles described the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles in the form of a flame of fire (Acts chapter 2). The Holy Spirit is the Patron Saint of Enugu Diocese.
The Appointment of Ernest Obodo as the first Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu by His Holiness, Pope Francis was made on 25 of May, 2018. It was a Friday between the Pentecost Sunday and the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. This Appointment was also done in the marian month of May. Ernest Obodo, therefore wishes to dedicate His Episcopacy to the guidance of the Most Holy Spirit under the maternal care of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.