Bishop Aclan’s episcopal coat of arms contains specific homages to a few elements he considers crucial to his ministry: the Blessed Trinity; the figure of Jesus Christ; the sacraments of the Church; the Blessed Virgin Mary; and his homeland of the Philippines.
The charge, or emblem, at the top of the coat’s shield is a tribute to the church where Aclan was ordained a bishop, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. That explains the two angel wings on either side of the “Fleur de Lys” (“Flower of the Lily”) honoring the Virgin Mary.
The blue background represents the traditional color of Mary as well as the color of LA’s next door neighbor, the Pacific Ocean.
Below the charge is a pyramid shape rendered in red to represent the Precious Blood of the Holy Eucharist. Upon this red field is placed the golden “Triquetra,” an emblem representing the Blessed Trinity.
Behind the pyramid shape, or “Chevron,” is a background with blue and white waves representing the waters of baptism.
To the left of this part of the shield is an image of the sacred Host of the Eucharist marked by the “IHS” Christological monogram. Upon the host there are five droplets of blood representing each of the five wounds of Christ. For Bishop Aclan, these droplets represent the sacrifice of Christ – his passion and death completed by his Resurrection.
To the right is a golden rose typically associated with the Virgin Mary in the Philippines. The seeds in red represent the sorrows that she bore in life.
The ribbon at the bottom reads Bishop Aclan’s episcopal motto, “One body, one spirit,” taken from Ephesians 4:4. At the center of the ribbon is the emblem taken from the Philippines’ flag, an official homage to his homeland.
Above the shield is a gold cross with a bluish homage to his adoptive home state: The stone at its center is Benitoite, the official stone of California, where he found his vocation and has made his home.
The green pilgrim’s hat, or “galero,” resting at the top of the coat of arms is the emblem used by all prelates and priests of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. The six tassels on either side of the hat represent his current rank and office as bishop.
Information and coat of arms courtesy of heraldic designer James-Charles Noonan Jr., and heraldic painter Linda Nicholson.