Bishop Cheri’s Coat of Arms
Bishop Cheri’s arms are composed of four quarters.
The first, upper left, is brown on which is displayed a silver (white) fleur-de-lis. The fleur-de-lis is a specific representation of a lily made out of three petals that are used here to represent the Creole Heritage that dominates south Louisiana. This specific culture is a blending of the African, French and Native American cultures and which remind us of those brave people who worked for, fought for and which prayed for God’s salvation in life.
The second quarter, upper right, is yellow (gold) and has displayed upon it a djembe drum, a classical musical instrument and signaling device used throughout West Africa. As a musical instrument, the drum is employed here to reflect Bishop Cheri’s passion for music, especially sacred or cultural music.
The third quarter, bottom left, is also yellow (gold) and displays a brown Tau cross. The Tau is a biblical symbol of the faithful, as told by the Prophet Ezekiel. The Tau was used by the hermit St. Anthony of Egypt and by St. Francis of Assisi as a symbol used to distinguish their work for the Church.
The fourth quarter, lower right, is brown, which shows two lengths of silver (white) rope that are parts of the usual waist cinch of the Franciscans. The simplicity of a simple rope belt, with the three knots representing poverty, chastity and obedience, is classic of the lifestyle presented by St. Francis for his order of “little brothers,” from the Latin “ordo fratrum minorum” or “order of friars minor.”
For his motto, Bishop Cheri has adopted the phrase “GOD IS MY STRENGTH,” from the Verse 7 of Psalm 28. In this phrase, Bishop Cheri expresses that it is by God’s strength that he offers his life in loving service in the name of Jesus.
The achievement is completed with the external ornaments that are a gold (yellow) processional cross, which extends above and below the shield, and a pontifical hat, called a galero, 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.
– Deacon Paul J. Sullivan,
Diocese of Providence