The Diocese of Malaybalay has released the personal coat of arms of Bishop-elect Noel Portal Pedregosa.
The diocese released the photo of the coat of arms as well as the explanation of the meanings of the symbols Tuesday, July 6, a week after Pope Francis appointed Pedregosa to the post.
Below is a short explanation of the meanings of the symbols taken from the diocese’s Facebook page:
At the center of its chief (upper part) is the monogram IHS which are the first three letters of the Holy Name of Jesus. This is sometimes read in Greek as Iēsous Hēmeteros Sōtēr (Jesus our Savior) or in Latin “Jesus Hominum Salvator” (“Jesus, Savior of men). Some English interpretations put this as “In His Service”.
This symbol represents Jesus Christ, the Head Shepherd, who entrusts to Bishops “the feeding of His sheep and the care of souls by divine institution.” This is also the seal of the Society of Jesus which made Bukidnon as its mission district and whose missionaries founded institutions where the Bishop-elect was educated.
The chief is filled with Azure (blue), the color of the Blessed Virgin Mary, symbolizing the Bishop-elect’s devotion to Our Lady which he imparted to his seminarians by praying the Holy Rosary during his years as Rector of the St. John XXIII College Seminary.
Bordering the two shields are the colors of the seven tribes of Bukidnon which, despite their diversity, is preferred by the Diocese of Malaybalay by showing “special care for them and their cultural traditions.” This also informs everyone that the Bishop-elect is the first appointee who hails from the diocese and for the diocese.
The base (lower part) contains some of the Bishop-elect’s pastoral preferences. The Sacred Scriptures with Christ’s symbols as the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (end) represents the Bishop-elect’s great devotion to the Word of God.
The tincture of Or (gold) in the background represents illumination. The Bishop-elect, during the pandemic and the tragedy it has befallen to all people, notwithstanding the murder of one of his presbyters and the death of another two due to the COVID-19 virus, has been the Diocese’s guiding light, providing direction and hope to those who found themselves in darkness.
The color gold is also traditionally accorded to St. Joseph for the singular honor of being the protector and spouse of the Blessed Virgin and foster-father of Jesus Christ. The Bishop-elect desires to give tribute to St. Joseph, Universal Patron of the Church, and entrusts his gift of the episcopacy to St. Joseph’s intercession as his appointment is within the Holy Year of St. Joseph declared by Pope Francis.
The tree rooted in greenery at the bottom represents the strong ecological thrust of the entire Church, particularly in the context of Bukidnon, whose pastoral care shall be entrusted to the Bishop-elect. The agricultural motif likewise links the Bishop-elect’s farming background and the role of San Isidro Labrador, the Diocesan patron saint in his life.
His Episcopal Motto, “Ut Omnes Unum Sint” (That They May All Be One) is taken from the Gospel of John 17:21. This part of Christ’s priestly prayer is adopted by the Bishop-elect which he lived out in his priestly ministry and shall continue to live as Bishop. “The Lord Jesus’ prayer for unity between his disciples (ut unum sint: Jn 17:21) is for every Bishop a pressing summons to a specific apostolic duty. This unity is not to be looked for as the fruit of our own efforts; it is first and foremost a gift of the Holy Trinity to the Church” (Pastores Gregis, 64). The Bishop-elect is known to be a natural unifier among the clergy, consecrated persons, laity, religious and civic leaders, which often translates into good and effective relationships and cooperation.
The coat of arms, which is the symbol usually seen on the bishop’s chair, consists of symbols related to the person such as where he is from among others.