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COAT OF ARMS of Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, D.D.

Bishop of Balanga

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two sides of the coat of arms are divided by TAU cross in the middle. The right side is the personal seal of the bishop. The left side is the seal of the Diocese of Balanga.

The Tau cross is traditionally associated with Saint Francis of Assisi to whom Bishop Soc is especially devoted.

The TAU cross gained prominence as a symbol of renewal through Pope Innocent III at the opening of the Fourth Lateran Council using the words of Ezekiel 9:4, "We are called to reform our lives; to stand in the presence of God as a holy people. God will know us by the sign of the TAU marked on our foreheads." The TAU cross is a symbol of the lifelong fidelity of the bishop to the passion of Christ.

On the upper right (blue) side are three long-stemmed lilies, symbols of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the Cathedral. According to legend the staves of the many suitors of the Blessed Virgin Mary were gathered in the temple; the staff of Saint Joseph bloomed to signify that he was the one chosen by God to be the head of the Holy Family. Blue signifies peace, justice and tranquility. Saint Joseph was called "just" by the Gospel. He was a placid and silent man, too.

On the lower right (red) side are three youths reading books. Bataan, the civil province co-terminus with the Diocese, means the Land of the Youth, the hope of the Fatherland. The books being read by each are respectively marked VIA, meaning Christ The Way; VERITAS, meaning Christ The Truth; and VITA, meaning Christ The Life. Overhead is the golden sun with the letters IHS, meaning Jesus. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the Light of the world" (John 8:12; 9:5). He is the "real light that comes into the world and shines on all men" (John 1:9). He is the Lamb, the lamp of the Celestial Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23), the Sun of Justice (Malachi 4:2). He also said, "I am The Way, I am The Truth, I am The Life" (John 14:6). So in the light of Christ that is explained by the Church, we must study and follow and live Christ who is the way, the truth and the life. This study entails seriousness, this following of Christ means patience, this living of Christ requires perseverance--virtues signified by the red color.

On the upper left (blue) side is the letter M referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary at the foot of the Cross is a poignant picture of a mother's love for her Son. The blue background refers to the abiding presence of Mary in his life.

The diagonal line with barbed wire refers to EDSA revolution of 1986 and 2001, historical events that have shaped the pastoral ministry of the bishop. It also refers to the heroic struggle of the Filipinos during the Second World War. The World War II Memorial Shrine is in Bataan. The white background represents his active involvement for the cause of peace.

On the lower left (red) stands the silhouette of San Carlos Borromeo, the patron of the Archdiocesan Seminary where he studied. Red is the Cardinal's color referring to his love and esteem for the Archbishop-Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Manila, His Eminence Jaime L. Cardinal Sin.

The bishop's motto is "PAX" , Latin for peace. Peace is the fruit of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ (cf. John 20:19), Peace is also the gift that every disciple must offer to the world (cf. Luke 1.0:5 ). Those who make peace are assured of the heavenly inheritance for the children of God (cf. Matthew 5:9).

Formed under a great man of peace, Jaime Cardinal Sin, and having worked in the shrine dedicated to peace, the bishop sets his energy, his life and his mission for the task of making peace. Christ is our peace (cf. Ephesians 2:14). To make peace is to proclaim Christ. Christ is Peace.

 

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The Roman Catholic
Diocese of Balanga
(Bataan, Philippines)