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First Peoples recognised in Bishop’s coat of arms


A unique Indigenous design has been incorporated into the coat of arms for Australia’s newest bishop, Charles Gauci, who will be ordained in St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral, Darwin, tonight (September 26).

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The former Adelaide priest said one of his priorities was to “listen to and walk with our Aboriginal sisters and brothers”, hence the inclusion of the Indigenous symbol as a central element of the otherwise traditional coat of arms.

Named Many Yet One, the symbol is based on a design by Aboriginal artist Lyn Walker, whose brother is John Lochowiak, from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry and Centacare Catholic Family Services.

“It represents the coming together as one people with different journeys and much diversity into the infinite love of the Holy Trinity,” Bishop Gauci said.

While Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders has a boomerang from the south Kimberley and a woomera from the North Kimberley on his coat of arms, Bishop-elect Gauci is believed to be the first to incorporate an Indigenous art design.

The coat of arms also contains elements of his Maltese origins including a castle derived from the Gauci family coat of arms.

Bishop-elect Gauci said the castle also represented the “interior castles of our hearts leading us into contemplative union with God as expressed by St Teresa of Avila”.

The arms were designed by Richard d’Apice AM KCSG and Fr Guy Selvester, and illustrated by Sandy Turnbull.

Bishop-elect Gauci chose as his motto, which also appears on his coat of arms, ‘the word made flesh’.



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