The Coat of Arms of The Most Reverend Gilbert I. Sheldon, D.D., D.Min.
BLAZON (description in heraldic terms):
Impaled Arms: On the dexter for the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio; Per fess Azure and Argent on a fess per pale Argent and Azure a bend Gules, in chief a heart Argent charged with a rose Gules above a crescent Argent and in base a Torteaux charged with a celestial crown Or, on the circlet of the crown the letters I H S Sable, between three tongues of fire two in fess and one in base Gules. On the sinister for Bishop Sheldon; Per chevron Argent and Gules, in chief a Hurt charged with a terrestrial globe Or between two Ermine-spots, and in base a cross of Lorraine Or.
MOTTO: FORTES IN FIDE.(Strong in Faith) 1 Peter 5:9.
The entire "achievement," or coat of Arms as it is generally called, is composed of the shield with its charges, the motto and the external ornaments. As one looks at the shield, the terms dexter and sinister must be understood contrariwise as the shield was worn on the arm in medieval days, and these terms were used in their relationship of one behind the armor.
The dexter impalement, on the left of the viewer, bears, according to custom in ecclesiastical heraldry, the jurisdictional Arms of the Diocese of Steubenville in Ohio. The Arms of the Diocese of Steubenville follows the custom in the United States of including elements from Arms of those persons or places after which the American city has been named. In this instance, the Arms claimed by Baron von Steuben (1730-1794) who aided the patriot cause in the American Revolution, have been incorporated into the Arms of the Diocese of Steubenville. The Diocesan Arms consist of a shield divided across the middle - the upper portion blue and the lower silver (white). Across the middle of the shield is a "fess" charged with the Steuben Arms -half silver and blue with a red diagonal band.
In the upper blue portion of the shield is a heart above a crescent both tinctured silver (white) with a red rose displayed on the heart. These symbols honor the Blessed Virgin under the title of Immaculate Heart of Mary, the patroness of the Diocese.
In the lower silver (white) portion of the shield is a red roundel (termed in heraldry "a torteaux") charged with a gold (yellow) celestial crown, the rim of the circlet inscribed with the letters I H S in black. This honors the dedication of the Cathedral to the Holy Name of Jesus. Three red tongues of fire surround the red rounder and are symbols of the Church's Pentecostal mission based on St. Luke's Gospel, 12:49; "I have come to light a fire on the earth. How I wish the blaze were ignited!"(New American Bible).
The sinister impalement, on the right of the viewer displays the personal Arms of Bishop Sheldon. By combining the personal Arms on the same shield with those of the Diocese of Steubenville the spiritual unity of the Bishop with his flock is signified, a thought also conveyed by the ring which the Bishop wears on his right hand. The personal Arms of Bishop Sheldon consist of a shield of.red and white colors "per chevron" commemorating the Polish origins of his family. The division of the shield ''per chevron" with the lower portion in red charged with a gold (yellow) cross of Lorraine, commemorates Bishop Sheldon being the first Episcopal Vicar of Lorain County in the Diocese of Cleveland.
In the "chief" or upper part of the shield is placed a blue roundel (termed in heraldry "a hurt") charged with a gold (yellow) terrestrial globe between two black ermine-spots. The globe symbolizes the Bishop's labors as Cleveland Diocesan Director and National Board member of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Church's world-wide missionary program. The ermine spots are to be found on the Arms of the Diocese of Cleveland and recall the Bishop's priestly labors in that diocese.
The motto, FORTES IN FIDE (Strong in Faith) from the first Epistle of St. Peter, expresses a recurring theme in Apostolic teaching. A motto is often a brief exhortation setting forth an ideal, a program of life and the spirit of one who selects it.
Behind the Arms is placed a gold (yellow) processional cross and ensigning the whole achievement is a pontifical hat with its six tassels on each side disposed in three rows, all green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop in accordance with the Instruction of the Holy See, dated 31st. March, 1969. Before 1870, the pontifical hat was worn at solemn cavalcades held in conjunction with papal functions. The color of the hat and the number of tassels were signs of the rank of the prelate, a custom still preserved in ecclesiastical heraldry.
The Arms of the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio were devised by The Very Reverend Monsignor John E. Kuhn, Cincinnati, Ohio in 1945. The BLAZON(description in heraldic terms) for the Arms of the Diocese of Steubenville is based on that in the still unpublished Volume 5(Mss.) of the Biographical and Heraldic Dictionary of the American Hierarchy compiled by Brother Gerard Brassard, A.A. (1906 - 1991).
The personal Arms of Bishop Sheldon were devised by A.W.C. Phelps, Cleveland, Ohio, 26 April, 1976, and he also undertook their impalement with the See of Steubenville, February, 1992.