Bishop Alphonse Gallegos’ Coat of Arms
In Bishop Gallegos’ coat of arms is reflected his spirituality, particularly his love for the youth, Saint Joseph and the Blessed Mother, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe and his motto, “Love one another.”
On a white shield, representing the snow covered Sierra Mountains of the Sacramento Diocese, is placed a tripled branch of nettle, taken from the Gallegos Family coat of arms. The branch is tripled to represent the Most Holy Trinity. From the branch issue seven green leaves, representative of the seven sacraments, the life-blood of Christianity. The leaves are green to reflect youth and growth.
The upper portion of the device, known as a chief, is divided from the main portion of the shield by a line of demarcation called dancetty, a series of connected chevrons. The chevron, a variation of the “carpenter’s square” honors Saint Joseph, the Gallegos Family patron and patron of the Order of Augustinian Recollects.
On the chief is a gold rose which honors the Blessed Virgin in her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas. The rose is placed between two Aztec wings, symbolic of San Miguel, the patron of the Los Angeles parish in which Bishop Gallegos was raised and later served as pastor prior to his appointment to the California Catholic Conference. The red background of the chief honors the love of St. Augustine, the patron of the Order of Augustinian Recollects.
For his motto, Bishop Gallegos selected the phrase “Love One Another”, Christ’s charge to all persons and continued in the first chapter of the Rule of St. Augustine. This motto has been placed on a belt of the habit of the Order of Augustinian Recollects.
The achievement is completed by the external ornaments, which are a gold processional cross, placed in back of the shield and extending above and below the shield, and the pontifical hat, with its six tassels, in three rows on either side of the shield, all in green. The hat, which was worn by bishops at solemn conclaves until 1870, and the cross are the heraldic insignae of a prelate of the rank of bishop, by instruction of The Holy See of March 31, 1969.