Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of the Right Rev. Philip Tartaglia STD,
Bishop of Paisley
 
Description by Monsignor Charles Canon Burns OBE
who designed the Arms

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The Coat of Arms of Bishop Tartaglia is simple, inspired by one single theme of his own choosing.
 
In the gospels (cf. John 6, 5-14), we read:
 
 
 Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?” Jesus said to them, “Make the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, “Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.” So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, “This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.”
 
The two apostles Philip and Andrew, are singled out by name in this account of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand.
 
In this Coat of Arms, that gospel episode is depicted heraldically: the two fish (which are crossed in saltire in allusion to the presence of Saint Andrew) surrounded by the five barley loaves. Nothing more, nothing less: – only the essential elements.
 
But these arms contain more meaning than at first meets the eye. One fish has a gold ring in its mouth. This refers to the legend of St. Mungo and is featured in Glasgow’s civic and ecclesiastical heraldry since the sixteenth century. This unobtrusive addition, however, records that Philip Tartaglia is Glaswegian by birth, is a distinguished former pupil of St. Mungo’s Academy, and ordained priest of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.
 
Conforming to heraldic rules, by happy choice, the colours that feature in the arms – green, white and red – correspond to the Italian Tricolour, in reference to the bishop’s family origins, of which he is justifiably proud, and to the years spent in Rome at the Pontifical Scots College, first as a student and post-graduate, from 1969-1980, and ultimately - and all too briefly – as rector from May 2004 until November 2005 when he was ordained bishop.
The miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes has always been understood as a foretelling of the Blessed Eucharist. So this theme is ideal for a bishop appointed in the Year of the Eucharist. And all the more so when we recall that in 1980 Bishop Tartaglia defended a thesis in the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on the Decree on the Eucharist promulgated by the Council of Trent.
 
And no wonder that he has chosen as his motto the Latin phrase, “Da robur, fer auxilium”, taken from the traditional Eucharistic hymn “O Salutaris Hostia”, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas, with which we are so familiar. These words serve as an invocation: “Thine aid supply, thy strength bestow”, - but also as a program for his apostolate in Paisley.
 
May Bishop Tartaglia contemplate his “arms” with joy and draw inspiration from them ad multos annos.

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