What is a Coat of Arms?

The coat of arms is a principal part of a system of hereditary symbols. The symbols represent territories, families, and allegiances.

Background Information

Diocese of Brooklyn Shield

Diocese of Brooklyn coat of armsThe Diocese includes only two counties, both of which are on the western end of Long Island, and both are part of the city of New York. They are the counties of Kings (Brooklyn) and Queens,. The two crowns on the diocesan arms have a dual meaning. First, the closed royal crown is the crown of the king and suggests the name, Kings County. The coronet, the queen’s crown in the second quarter suggests the name, Queens County. Catholics believe the terms: “King” and “Queen” also bring to mind Christ the King, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is Queen of Heaven. This idea is emphasized by the two roundels (fountains) found beneath the crowns. The center shell also has meaning. The first Catholic church built on Long Island was dedicated to St. James, and it eventually became the present cathedral of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The symbol for St. James is the scallop shell.

Suggested Activities for Students:

Share the shield and history of the Diocese of Brooklyn Shield

  • Research the history of our Diocese. Why are Brooklyn and Queens separated from the rest of NYC?
  • Learn360 Coat of Arms Segment
  • How did the counties in NYC get their names?
  • Research St. James Cathedral. Why was that the first location for a church?
  • Research the life of St. James and why the scallop shell is the symbol of St. James.

Using this Coat of Arms template, create your own shield.

  • What are some symbols that represent your family?
  • What are some symbols that represent your neighborhood, school, borough?
  • What is allegiance? What are some things you are devoted/loyal to? (church, friends, organizations, sports)