Description of the Coat of Arms
Most Reverend Steven Biegler
Bishop of Cheyenne
The exterior is the traditional framing of a Bishop’s coat of arms, a wide-brimmed green pilgrim’s hat (galero) with 12 attached tassels. The golden bottony cross contains five red stones to signify the five wounds of Christ, and one traversal bar to represent the rank of the Bishop.
The left side of the crest is for the Diocese of Cheyenne. The arms are made of a field divided by embattlements to signify that Cheyenne was a frontier fortification during the westward expansion of the United States and was named for an Indian tribe in the area. In each section is a cross pattée indicating the Gospel brought to the area by missionaries during the 1800s.
The right side contains the Coat of Arms of Bishop Steven Biegler with three symbols:
- The Bible symbolizes his spirituality rooted in the living Word of God and the mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the world.
- A sheaf of wheat represents God’s Word as the seed sown on rich soil which produces a hundredfold (Mark 4:1-9).
- The sheep and staff remind him to imitate Jesus the Good Shepherd (Jn. 10) who “came to seek out and save what was lost” (Lk. 19:10) and recall Pope Francis’ challenge to be a “shepherd living with the smell of the sheep.”
The rural images also evoke the activity of the Bishop’s family who have been farmers and ranchers in the Dakotas and of his ancestors who emigrated from Germany, Ireland and Russia where they lived close to the land.
‘Shepherd in Compassion.’
The evangelists used a specific verb to describe Jesus’ compassion. The verb splanchnizomai means to be moved in the abdomen, the intestines and especially the womb. Thus, the intensity of God’s tender compassion is like feeling pain in your guts for a hurting family member. The gospel writers used this verb to illustrate Jesus’ deep compassion for the widow of Nain, a leper, the blind men and the multitudes who were like sheep without a shepherd (Mt. 9:36). Jesus himself used the word to depict how the Good Samaritan looked on the traveler who had been beaten and left half-dead, and the heartfelt mercy of the father who ran to embrace his wayward prodigal son. Inspired by Jesus’ mercy, Bishop Steven seeks to shepherd in compassion. He chose the preposition in because he needs to remain inside of the Lord’s merciful compassion. Only then will he be an effective shepherd of God’s compassion.