For his personal coat of arms, His Excellency, Bishop Espaillat has selected a gothic shape shield, frequently used in Roman Catholic Church heraldry, a device that reflects his life as a priest and now as a Bishop.
The shield is divided into three sections, normally referred to as a triptych. The left portion of the design of the shield is a gold field with the letters “A” and “M” in azure with a crown on top.
The letters have been adapted from Luke 1:28 and signify the greeting of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation. This symbol is in honor of the Queenship of Mary, declaring her Queen of Heaven and Earth, especially under the titles of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercy, Patroness of the Dominican Republic and the Bishop’s mother’s first name) and Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (Our Lady of High Grace, Protectress of the Dominican Republic).
The portion to the right of the shield, is a gold field with a lily, which has a dual significance.
First, the lily is a symbol of purity, which is attributed to many of the saints. Secondly, it is in honor of St. Joseph, the baptismal patron of the Bishop, his father and grandfather. Finally, in the lower extremity, in azure, descends the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, emanating seven rays, representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit who was the guiding force in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints continues to be the guiding force of Bishop’s life, most especially in the last several years, as the Spiritual Director of the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the Archdiocese of New York.
For his motto, Bishop Espaillat uses the phrase “He knows what He is about,” which is taken from the Meditations and Devotions of St. John Henry Cardinal Newman. Actually, this is the prayer that His Excellency used for his first Mass card as a priest; the verse offers him much consolation, both in his prayer life and the priesthood. By the use of this phrase, Bishop Espaillat wishes to express that even through sickness, sorrow, confusion, pain and suffering, our surety does not lie in our own power and strength but rather in the truth that regardless of trials and joys, “He knows what He is about” and that ultimately, all will be well, as he solely relies on the Lord.
The device is completed with the external ornaments, which are a gold processional bottony cross with five red stones to represent the five Wounds of Christ, which is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and a pontifical hat, called a “gallero,” with its six tassels, in three rows, on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of Bishop by Instruction of the Holy See of March 31, 1969.
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