The diocesan coat of arms represents the 25 counties that made up the Austin Diocese at its creation. The diocese extends north to south from the city of West to San Marcos and east to west from Bryan/College Station to Mason. Bishop Louis J. Reicher designed the coat of arms at the time the diocese was established in 1948.
The custom of having a coat of arms goes back to medieval times when rulers, officials, and large landowners would have the shields of their soldiers emblazoned with a design symbolizing the family. Since the diocese and its see city take the name of Stephen F. Austin, Bishop Reicher chose to utilize part of the Austin family coat of arms. This consisted of a horizontal bar charged with three crosses between one chevronel line above and another at the base.
He altered the coloring, however, utilizing the colors symbolic of the Blessed Virgin Mary, white and blue, in view of the fact that the cathedral of the diocese is dedicated to her. These are also the principal colors of the State Seal of Texas.
The star above has a double significance. It symbolizes both the Lone Star of Texas and our Blessed Lady under the title Stella Maris
, “Star of the Sea.”
The rose on the lower chevronel reminds us of the shield of the Galveston Diocese, from which most of the Austin Diocese was taken in 1948. This rose, copied from the field of the mother diocese of the state, symbolizes the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Rosa Mystica
, “Mystical Rose” and is again a symbol of new birth as it was in the beginning of the church nearly two thousand years ago.
The wavy lines symbolize the Colorado River, which passes through the center of the diocese, and the golden heart symbolizes St. Augustine (Austin) of Hippo. The transfixed arrows, one descending and one ascending, represent St. Austin’s love for God and God’s love for St. Austin as a great doctor of the Church.