THE BISHOP'S COAT OF ARMS “THESAURUM IN VASIS FICTILIBUS”
T he coat of arm is a reminder of what a person it represents holds so dear and a statement of intent as to what they hold important in life. The Bishop, for his coat of arm, has brought together the following symbols;
- The green hat (Roman Galero) with 12 (6 on each side) attached tassels. This is an indication of the Bishop’s office as a Roman Catholic Cleric. The green colour and the 12 tassels evoke his office as Bishop and hence a successor of one of the twelve Apostles.
- Shield with symbols, drawn from family, geographic, religious and historical realities of significance to the Bishop. The shield is divided into two parts. The upper part in deep blue symbolises the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother and intercessor of all Priests. Lower part in white recalls the purity and holiness to which every Priest and Bishop is invited in imitation of Christ, the High Priest.
Behind the shield stands a golden processional cross, with one traversal bar with five red stones, representing the five wounds of Christ, reminding the Bishop of his calling to initiate Christ the Good Shepherd in “laying down his life” for the flock.
In the shield are four special symbols to the Bishop. The three earthenware jars filled with precious treasure are a symbol drawn from sacred scripture. These are the biblical cylindrical containers used for the preservation of things of great value such as precious stones or even Sacred scrolls. These jars remind the Bishop of his humble fragility but also of God’s utter gratuitous choice to imbue him with gifts beyond his natural abilities. The treasures held by the jars also depicts the rich mineral resources of Nasarawa State, fondly described “the home of solid minerals “
In the middle of the shield is the crest of David, the little shepherd of Bethlehem, chosen from obscurity to become the great king of Israel and a man after God’s own heart. Inspite of some moments of human weakness, David was a man of great courage, wisdom and humility. His ability to forgive distinguished him from Saul, his predecessor. The Bishop hopes for and prays for the intercession of Israel’s greatest king for the gifts of courage, wisdom, humility and a forgiving heart in his episcopal ministry. Below the crest of David is the Ikpaar- a round shaped leather shield of the Afizere people (The Bishop’s ethnic group). This shield in times past, was carried by the Afizere chief priest (Atsi), every time he was required to lead his people, especially in moments of crisis. With the shield, he went ahead of the people, acting as the protector and a guide from both physical and spiritual attacks. This symbol reminds the Bishop of his duties as teacher, leader, guide and protector of God’s people at all times.
3. Golden scroll below the shield with the motto, written in black. The motto “Thesaurum in vasis Fictilibus” is taken from 2 Corinthians 4:7. It highlights the fact that all we are and have come from God’s providence. Thus, instead of making us proud, this should transform our lives into that of that of thanksgiving on account of the utter goodness of God.