From the Cross Comes Salvation

The coat of arms of the Reverend Robert T. Cooper represents his cultural heritage and his journey to the ministerial priesthood.

The lower portion of the shield contains twelve raindrops symbolic of the torrential floodwaters which, for twelve heart-wrenching days, decimated the City of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. These raindrops are also emblematic of the overflowing “tears” shed by the men and women of this local Church during a time of great suffering and loss.

The center portion of the shield contains the “golden sunburst” symbolic of the rising of the Son of Man, the victory of Christ Jesus, a victory of love in the midst of suffering. Death, sorrow, and pain, once so powerful, have been defeated by the triumph of the Lamb who was slain. This golden symbol of the resurrection is a sign of assurance that the tragedies and disasters of this life will never have the final say: “God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

The upper portion of the design contains the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, “Alpha” and “Omega,” emblematic of Jesus Christ who is at once the beginning and the end, and who will bring all things to perfect harmony and completion. The fleur-de-leis, a three-pelted lily, is symbolic of the Three Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity and is employed to reverence the Feast Day upon which Father Cooper celebrated his First Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for the gift of the ministerial priesthood. In addition, the fleur-de-leis stands as a symbol to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary upon whose motherly protection and intercession all rely. Lastly, this image is representative of French Royalty and thereby acknowledges the cultural heritage of the founding of the City of New Orleans and the patron of its Cathedral, St. Louis IX, King of France. In the heart of the design is the chalice symbolic of the Eucharistic Sacrifice which is the central mystery of our Catholic faith and at the heart and soul of the ministerial priesthood. Within the chalice is placed a simple Cross, the Christian symbol of faith in eternal life.

For his priestly motto, Father Cooper uses the Latin phrase, “A CRUSE SALUS” (“From the Cross comes Salvation”). This phrase is a profound summation of the writings of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: “The world is in flames. The conflagration can also reach our house. But high above all the flames towers the Cross. They cannot consume it. It is the path from earth to heaven. It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love, and hope into the bosom of the Trinity.”

The achievement is completed with the traditional external ornament of the priestly hat, called a “gallero,” with its single black tassel on either side of the shield. This is the heraldic insignia of a cleric of the rank of presbyter.

The coat of arms was designed by Mr. Andrew Jamieson, a Heraldic Artist of London, England.