Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ Coat of Arms combines traditional design features and personal motifs.
The red ecclesiastical hat, or galero, with its fifteen tassels hanging down on each side tells us that this is an cardinal’s coat of arms. The gold cross with two bars show the Cardinal is the head of an archiepiscopal or metropolitan see.
The left hand side of the shield represents his Archdiocese, Westminster. The white Y shape on the red background is the pallium. This is presented to metropolitan archbishops by the Holy Father and is worn over the chasuble. It symbolizes the Cardinal’s participation in the pastoral ministry of the Pope and his communion with the See of Rome.
Our thoughts are also directed to Rome by the blue wavy band running diagonally across the right hand side of the shield, which represents the Tiber. But it represents, too, the River Mersey and calls to mind the importance of Liverpool in the Cardinal’s life.
The three scallop shells signify not only the Venerable English College in Rome, where the Cardinal studied for the Priesthood, but also the virtue of faith by which we travel our pilgrim path.
The anchors indicate both the Cardinal’s seafaring grandfather, and the virtue of hope.
The red roses, as well as symbolize Lancashire (the Cardinal’s home county), are emblems of the virtue of charity.
Finally, the Latin inscription Fortis Ut Mors Dilectio, taken from the Song of Solomon 8:6, translates into “Love is strong as death”.