The Ninth Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago
As of Saturday, September 14, Archbishop Joseph Harris would have ordained two bishops – but is yet to preside at a priestly ordination.
Archbishop Harris was due to be the principal consecrator at Saturday’s Episcopal ordination of Msgr Robert Llanos as Auxiliary Bishop of Port of Spain. It would have been his second time in that role in the two years he has been a bishop – the first coming just one week after his own Episcopal ordination, when he had to step in for Archbishop Edward Gilbert at the ordination of Msgr Jason Gordon as Bishop of Bridgetown and Kingstown.
The date – September 14 – also marked the second anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of Fr Joseph Harris as Coadjutor Archbishop of Port of Spain, and so he and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Llanos will now share an anniversary.
However, the new Auxiliary Bishop is to be addressed as “Your Lordship”, as distinct from “Your Grace”, which is used for the Archbishop. And, since “Monsignor” is an honorary title, he retains it as Bishop.
Also, the words “Auxiliary Bishop Robert” were to be added to the Eucharistic Prayer from this weekend’s Masses.
The Coat of Arms of Auxiliary Bishop Robert Llanos
A Coat of Arms is traditional in heraldry. Symbols are placed on a shield which is often surrounded by distinctive markings to denote the occupation of the person and in this manner personal recognition is afforded. It is customary in the Church for each Bishop to have his own Coat of Arms. As the distinctive mark of his office a Bishop has a hat, cords and twelve tassels placed around his shield. In coloured reproductions these are all in green; in addition there is a cross behind the shield with one cross bar.
Auxiliary Bishop Robert Llanos’ shield is divided in three. The upper third bears the Crest of the Llanos family from the 16th century in southern Spain. The castle in the centre denotes authority and leadership, with a tiger on either side being the guardians of that authority. The gold background represents hope, the green represents peace and the red chivalry.
The second segment bears a chalice and host in the centre flanked by a dove on its right and the hearts of Jesus and Mary (reverse of the Miraculous Medal) on its left. The chalice and host speak of the Eucharist which is the source and summit of our Catholic faith and centre of the Church’s life. The dove symbolises the Holy Spirit who is the gift of Grace that is the life of the Church and all its members. The hearts of Jesus and Mary contain the miracle of love after which we all strive for perfection in Christ. The blue background represents the waters of Baptism and new life. The spiritual life of Auxiliary Bishop Llanos is centred on these three elements.
The third segment bears three symbols that pertain to our beloved nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The three hills are the Trinity hills symbolising Trinidad and Tobago. The steelpan with sticks celebrates all our culture no matter what our heritage may be. The image of the Holy Family reminds us of the centrality and importance of family life for the Church and the nation. Auxiliary Bishop Llanos therefore sees his ministry as at the service of family life, Church and nation.
The motto which the Coat of Arms carries, “Do Whatever He Tells You”, comes from the biblical passage on the wedding feast at Cana. This instruction indicates that Bishop Llanos’ life and ministry as a Bishop comes under the protection and guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under whose authority he seeks to do the will of God in the service of God’s people. As in the wedding feast at Cana, obedience to the will of God is always fruitful and life giving to those who partake of it. This command is therefore an instruction to the whole Church.