George Leo Thomas
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GEORGE LEO THOMAS
Born : May 19, 1950
Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle
Bishop of Helena
Bishop of Las Vegas
- (personal arms) Argent, upon a cross Azure, a Paschal candle Proper; between; to chief dexter a pick and shovel in saltire Vert and to chief sinister a Keltic "M" of the second; and in base two garbs of wheat Proper.
As common in US episcopal heraldry, the arms show the arms of the diocese impaled with the personal arms of the bishop.
The blue cross with the Pascal candle refers to the kindling of the fire during the Easter Vigil Service, as the deacon carries the newly lighted paschal candle into the darkened church, as a symbol of resurrected Christ, he intones, three times, the phrase that Bishop Thomas has selected for the motto of his episcopacy "CHRIST OUR LIGHT." This light, as seen throughout the liturgical season of Eastertime and which is given to each newly baptized person, and is also seen during the rituals of Christian burial, is symbolic of the fact that the Light of the salvation of the Risen Christ that is in each Catholic is carried from birth to death as the sustaining beacon on each person's life journey. That is the guiding force for Bishop Thomas in the fullness of the priesthood as a bishop.
Within the quarters of the shield that are created by The Cross are a green crossed pick and shovel to honor the Irish heritage of The Bishop's mother, Mary Rita (Cronin) Thomas, whose family were miners in County Cork, Ireland and then in Michigan and Montana. There are also two garbs of wheat to signify that the family of the Bishop's father, also George Leo Thomas, were farmers and there are two of them to honor His Excellency's baptismal patron, Thomas, whose name means "twin." The Keltic "M," honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
The achievement is completed with the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop by instruction of the Holy See, of March 1969, confirmed in March 2001.
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