Upon his appointment as 10th Bishop of Armidale, Bishop Michael Kennedy adopted personal arms. During his 11 years at Armidale, Bishop Michael Kennedy used his personal arms impaled with the arms of the Diocese of Armidale.
Impalement is a form of presentation which combines two coats of arms on the one shield. It is sometimes used by married couples to signify their marriage and by a diocesan bishop to symbolise his marriage to his diocese and its people.
Following his move to the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Bishop Michael Kennedy has altered his heraldic usage and has put aside the arms of the Diocese of Armidale and now uses his personal arms impaled with the arms of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
The left-hand side of the shield represents the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle – the two sheaves of wheat representing agriculture and the undulating blue band representing the Hunter River both derived from Maitland, and the lighthouse issuing from a mural crown representative of Nobby’s and the coast at the entrance to Newcastle Harbour.
This left side of the shield was originally adopted by Bishop Michael Malone in 1995 when he succeeded as Bishop of the renamed Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and was retained also by Bishop William Wright, eighth Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle from 2011 to 2021.
The right-hand side of the shield reflects Bishop Michael Kennedy’s personal arms and can be described with the following elements:
- A silver field with a red cross being representative of Saint Michael his baptismal saint and acknowledging his home diocese of Wagga Wagga.
- Two black helmets from the arms of Bishop Kennedy’s Irish sept acknowledging his family heritage.
- A blue chief with gold fret, representative of a fisherman’s net and acknowledging his vocation to the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ and being a ‘fisher of men’. The blue colour also acknowledging the Blessed Virgin Mary as refuge, advocate, and mother.
The motto “Euntes Docete” translates as “Go forth and teach” and was the commission given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles before he ascended into heaven. The motto forms an integral part of the life and ministry of a bishop and also reflects Bishop Michael Kennedy’s past experience as a teacher.
Bishop Kennedy’s personal arms will most generally be seen impaled with the arms of the Diocese as his arms of office as Bishop of Maitland Newcastle. Whether his personal arms are displayed alone or impaled, they will be shown in front of a bishop’s processional cross, of Celtic design to reflect his Irish origins, and the green galero (Roman hat) with six fiocchi (tassels) on each side which are proper to a bishop.
Bishop Kennedy’s personal arms were designed by Richard d'Apice AM KCSG, President Emeritus of The Australian Heraldry Society, in consultation with the American heraldist, Fr. Guy Selvester. All of the coats of arms have been rendered by Australian Heraldry Society member, Sandy Turnbull.