EXPLANATION OF THE DUAL COATS OF ARMS
The coat of arms above is a combination of the diocesan coat of arms, on the left side of the shield, with the bishop’s personal coat of arms on the right. Together they symbolize the spiritual union of the bishop with his spouse, the local Church.
DIOCESAN COAT OF ARMS
The diocesan coat of arms uses symbols which describe San Diego (St. Didacus in Latin), the diocesan patron saint.
Diego was born to poor Spanish parents shortly before the year 1400. His love for poverty never left him. As a Franciscan brother he was a selfless servant of the poor and was known to heal the sick with the Sign of the Cross, the centerpiece of the diocesan coat of arms. The Spanish stew pot in the upper left corner indicates Diego’s boundless charity and tireless efforts to feed the hungry. San Diego had special devotion to the Lord in his Passion, symbolized by the three nails in the other corners of the crest.
Diego died on Nov. 12, 1463, at the Franciscan monastery in Alcalá, Spain, pressing a crucifix to his heart and repeating the words of the Good Friday chant: “Dulce lignum, dulce ferrum, dulce pondus sustinet” (Precious the wood, precious the nails, precious the weight they bear.)
BISHOP’S COAT OF ARMS
Bishop Flores’ personal coat of arms is composed of a blue field on which is placed an open book, a Bible, which is resting upon a crozier. These two symbols are placed together to signify the role of a pastor, who is to shepherd his flock under the guidance of the Holy Word of God. For Bishop Flores, this was his ministry in the Diocese of Orange where he was a parish priest for eighteen years, a ministry that was transformed to a larger flock when he became Auxiliary Bishop of Orange and then was appointed to San Diego. The Bible and the staff are placed below a golden crown, which along with the blue background, honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom the bishop is especially devoted. The crown also ‘plays on’ the name of the town where Bishop Flores was born — Corona. The Bible and staff are above three roses, again in honor of our Lady and the Martyrs of Mexico. The roses again ‘play on’ the Bishop’s name — Flores — which means ‘flowers’.
For his motto Bishop Flores selected the phrase “For the Greater Glory of God.” These words express that for a Christian, and especially for a cleric in God’s Holy Church, all that is done is to be done for the greater glory of God. This phrase is also the motto which St. lgnatius of Loyola chose for the Society of Jesus, the religious order he founded, and the religious order by whom Bishop Flores was educated at Loyola University of Los Angeles (now Loyola Marymount University).