Basilica Coat of Arms

Jill Burkee and Giancarlo Biagi


Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house (Numbers ii. 2)

Origins of Coat of Arms – standards and symbols 



Each Basilica has a Coat of Arms.  In a sense, this piece puts our mission here at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe into symbols.

 The Keys represent the Keys of the Kingdom and also refer to the basilica being one of the Pope’s churches.

 The chi-rho is a combination of the chi (X) and the rho (P), which are the first two letters of Christ in Greek.

 The descending dove represents the Holy Spirit that is active in the world. 

 The Fleur de lis, which is actually a stylized lily, has three prongs that signify the Holy Trinity.  The white lily is a symbol of the Virgin Mary or, equally, the state of purity and chastity attributed to her. 

On the left side is one of the most fragrant flowers in Florida - the orange blossom.  Millions of these white flowers perfume the air throughout central and south Florida during its blossom time.   This flower represents Florida and the tourist ministry, which was established by Bishop Thomas Grady in 1975.

 On the right side is the shamrock, which St. Patrick used to describe the unity of the Trinity.  This symbol for the Shrine’s crest was chosen in honor of the founding Rector and first tourist minister of Orlando, Monsignor Joseph Harte, who is from Co. Mayo, Ireland.

 The rosary emphasizes the shrine’s iconic M.   According to tradition, devotion to the Rosary was encouraged by St. Dominic in the thirteenth century. 

 The Flight into Egypt is a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew in which the Holy Family fled to Egypt after a visit by the Magi.   Their journey leads them to a new land.  This plight represents journey and pilgrimage.

 The scallop shell, located on the bottom of the crest, became the emblem of pilgrims to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostella, and subsequently of pilgrims in general.

 Caritas Christi Urget Nos, translates to The Love of Christ Impels Us

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