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Home : News : Local
4/28/2014 8:35:00 AM
Bishop's coat of arms pays tribute to homeland
Catholic Sentinel photo by Bob Kerns
Bishop Peter Smith
Catholic Sentinel photo by Bob Kerns
Bishop Peter Smith
+ view more photos
Archbishop Alexander Sample and Bishop Peter Smith meet at pastoral center.
What they say about him
"Bishop-elect Smith is smart, conscientious and faithful. Those who work in the Pastoral Center are already at ease with him. An auxiliary bishop will be very welcome in the archdiocese and Bishop-Elect Smith is a wonderful choice."
 — Mary Jo Tully, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland

"He was a great pastor. One of the things he brought us was a strong sense of community. A lot of that is because of his own personality. He's a very outgoing guy, a very likable guy, focused on the communal and spiritual."
— Dick Cheek, a member of St. Rose Parish in Portland since 1956

"I think he's a prince of a man. He's so brilliant yet he is so genuine. That allows his faith and his passion to be right there for you. He just draws the best out of you and he is humble the whole time."
— Peggy Johnson, member of St. Rose Parish and longtime teacher at Archbishop Howard School

"He is remarkable. It was an honor to work for him. He is caring, genuine, down to earth and sincere. He is just an honorable pastor. He is astute when it comes to what people need, but he doesn't just tell people what they want to hear. He is forthright and orthodox, loyal to the church."
— Dianna Cooper, administrative assistant at St. Rose Parish in Portland

"He is very human and knows how to get to the people on their level while remaining authoritative. I never went to Mass with him without learning something. He is a good teacher and he has helped me develop as a Catholic and live out my faith more fully."
— Phill Colombo, member of St. Rose Parish

"He has a very good spirituality and good experience with people and management. He is level-headed with lots of common sense. I found him to be someone who could collaborate with people. And the parishioners responded to his maturity. He is very passionate not just about preaching the faith but about helping people understand how to live their faith."
— Father Joe McMahon, former pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish

"We have always admired him for being very loyal to groups he belongs to and people he has responsibilities for. That bodes well for someone who will have a flock. He will be loyal to the archbishop and to the people he will serve. And his modesty is genuine. Being vicar general or bishop was not something he aspired to."
— Father Charles Wood, member of the Brotherhood of the People of Praise and parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Lake Parish

"I am delighted with the Holy Father's choice of Father Peter Smith as an auxiliary bishop in our archdiocese. 'He was my student!' I exclaimed when I heard the news.  Solid, steady, hardworking, at peace with the Lord and with others— he was like this as a student and as a priest. Giving him our support and prayers, we can look for the same from him in his work as bishop."
— Father Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B.
Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary
Pontifical Athenaeum Sant' Anselmo, Rome

"He has a sharp mind, coupled with pastoral sensitivity and common sense. He also comes to this new position with an enriching and balanced background from his formative years in South Africa, his years with the Brotherhood of the People of Praise, and his years of service here as a priest in the Archdiocese of Portland. May God continue to bless him in his service to the Body of Christ."
— Father Dave Schiferl, ordination classmate

"For years, as pastor at St. Rose, Father Peter celebrated each month the adapted liturgy for people with developmental disabilities and their families. He knew each person by name. His interactive homily engaged everyone in the message of the Gospel. When we would act out the story of the Gospel, Father Peter as Jesus would bring to life Jesus’ love for his people. He celebrated the joys of members of the community and carried their challenges and struggles as well. Once he shared that in his community, priests in formation are guided to see themselves as brother to those they serve.  We know well Father Peter, now Bishop Peter as brother to us all."
— Dorothy Coughlin, director of the Office for People with Disabilities, Archdiocese of Portland

"I’ve known Bishop Peter Smith since I was a freshman at Notre Dame. The life shared with brothers and sisters in our Christian community, the People of Praise — life with college students, older singles, married couples and children — has given him a wonderful awareness of the different ways God works in our days. It's always a treat to have him at our table where he tells jokes to my five sons, shares good book recommendations, and regales us with (humorous and colorful) stories of what God is up to in our everyday lives. My family is excited to see the great things in store for our archdiocese and the Church as Bishop Peter takes up his new role!"
— Dan Kabele, of the Portland People of Praise community

"Peter has a healthy dose of common sense and he is a very committed individual. Just ask him how long he has been drinking Five Roses tea. In short, Peter has a deep love for family, community and his faith. He embodies integrity and commitment. It does not surprise me that he has been appointed a bishop."
— Kathy Thornburg, younger sister of the bishop

Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith’s coat of arms, contains a shield the shape of the shields of Zulu warriors.

The blue and the star at the top have dual meanings. They are part of the coat of arms of KwaZulu-Natal but the blue also represents the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Bishop Peter’s home parish was St. Mary’s in Pietermaritzburg. It is staffed by priests from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.  The star also represents the star of Bethlehem, and the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The jagged gold edge also has several meanings.  The peaks reflect the Drakensberg mountains on the western border of KwaZulu-Natal, referred to as the barrier of spears by the Zulu people. The jagged edge also reflects the Cascade Mountain range on the eastern border of the Archdiocese of Portland. In the spiritual sense, they are symbolic of Jesus Christ in his ministry traversing the Galilean countryside and proclaiming the kingdom of God wherever people would listen.

The burning fire represents the Holy Spirit coming upon the Apostles and disciples at Pentecost. The hands below the fire represent arms being raised in praise and worship of God.

This is a heraldic representation of the image of the People of Praise community of which Bishop Smith has been a member for 31 years. The gold background is reflective of honoring Christ. Overall it is intended to reflect and honor the Trinity.

There is a rose at the center of the cross above the shield. This reflects Portland, the City of Roses and the Archdiocese of Portland, where Bishop Smith was ordained in 2001. The church awards a Golden Rose to Marian shrines and basilicas and this also reflects St. Mary’s Cathedral where Bishop Peter will be installed a bishop.

The motto is from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians 1:27 — “Christ in you, hope for glory.”  It is a summary of Paul’s understanding of the indwelling Christ and how Christ is revealed to the world through his faithful people, the Church.

The spirit of the coat of arms is reflected in the thought of the 20th Century theologian Father Romano Guardini, who wrote, “In every Christian, Christ relives his own life anew….He lives and grows in each of us , that our faith may increase, our love may be strengthened, our Christianity constantly deepened….We must believe in spite of ourselves that we are reborn and bear Christ within us, and with him potential glory.”



Related Stories:
• Bishop lives in community
• Bishop Smith's humor helps relieve tensions, difficulty
• 'A new way to love'

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