Most Reverend Gerald Michael
Twelfth Bishop of Ogdensburg
The external ornaments of the coat of arms of the Most Reverend Gerald Michael Barbarito include the episcopal symbols - a green gallero with its six tassels arranged in three rows on either side of the shield, and a gold processional cross.
The left side of the shield indicated the See of Ogdensburg. Its azure field has a silver tower symbolizing the first French Sulpician mission of La Presentation, founded in 1749. In 1763 at the close of the French and Indian War, the British gained control of this territory and refurbished Fort La Presentation, renaming it Fort Oswegatchie.
A seme of gold oak leaves recalls that the village was named for Samuel Ogden (oak dene), who purchased Oswegatchie and hired Nathan Ford to enlist settlers for the village in 1795.
The right side of the shield has a silver field in which there is an open Book of the Gospels, designated by the Alpha and Omega on the spine. The upside down position of the book denotes how the Gospels are placed over the head of a new bishop at his episcopal ordination, to remind him that this book must be the bishop’s helmet. The front cover of this particular book contains a skewed cross, taken from the arms of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, and the fleur-de-lis and crescent, honoring Bishop Francis Mugavero and Bishop Daily who ordained Bishop Barbarito.
At the base of the shield are two golden hills with three green fir trees, taken from the arms of the Salesians, founded by St. John Bosco, a model for parish priests.
The center pine tree has its roots visible, indicating the translation of the Italian name, “Barbarito,” roots.
Two black moorcocks with red crests from the arms of St. Thomas Moore recall Bishop Barbarito’s devotion to the patron saint of canon lawyers. Also, it was on the feast of St. Thomas Moore that the bishop first began working in the Brooklyn Chancery office, and on the same feastday he was informed of his elevation to the office of bishop.
Bishop Barbarito’s motto is: VERITATEM FACIENTES IN CARITATE, “LET US PROFESS THE TRUTH IN LOVE.”