Video explains symbols of diocesan coat of arms

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The Diocese of Nashville was founded on July 28, 1837, and to mark the 183rd anniversary of that date, the diocese released a video explaining the symbolism of its coat of arms.

“We use the diocesan coat of arms as part of our new branding, but we’ve never explained what it means. And it has to mean something,” said Bill Staley, director of youth and young adult ministry and new media evangelization for the diocese.

Staley, with help from other members of the diocesan staff, researched the heraldry of the diocesan coat of arms, which provided the content for the video, available on YouTube and the diocesan Facebook page.

The coat of arms depicts a dove with a halo on a red field above a blue bar with three silver stars.

The overall theme of the shield comes from the family coat of arms of Pope Gregory XVI, who founded the diocese.

The dove was a symbol of the family of Francis Nash, a Revolutionary War general for whom Nashville is named. The haloed dove also is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, which Scriptures describe as “descending like a dove.”

When the diocese was founded, it included the entire state of Tennessee. The three stars symbolize the three grand divisions of the state, East, Middle and West Tennessee.

The silver stars also symbolize the Holy Trinity, and with the blue bar are a nod to the Blessed Mother, who is the co-patron of the diocese. To view the video visit or the Diocese of Nashville Facebook page.

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