Coat-of-Arms | Bishop-emeritus Francisco Fortunato de Gouveia

Bishop de Gouveia's personal Coat-of-Arms

Diocese of Oudtshoorn
Bisdom Oudtshoorn

Patron: The Immaculate Heart of Mary
Patroon: Die Onbevlekte Hart van Maria

Suffragan Diocese of the Province of Cape Town - Republic of South Africa
Suffragane Bisdom van die Provinsie Kaapstad - Republiek van Suid-Afrika

AN EXPLANATION of the Coat-Of-Arms of the Right Reverend Bishop Francisco Fortunato de Gouveia, Lord Bishop of Oudtshoorn.


1. THE BISHOP'S HAT, TASSELS AND PROCESSIONAL CROSS signify the office of the Bishop.

2. THE FISH is an ancient symbol of Christianity. The Greek word for ‘fish’ is ‘ichthus’, an acronym for the profession of faith: I=Jesus, CH= Christ, TH=of God, U=Son, S=Saviour. The cathedral church of the Diocese of Oudtshoorn  is dedicated to our Saviour. The symbol of a fish also appears in the Coat-of-Arms of Ponta do Pargo, Madeira, Portugal, the village where the Bishop’s parents and ancestors lived for many generations. As immigrants to South Africa his parents settled in Cape Town where they earned their livelihood selling fish.

3. THE ALOE representing Oudtshoorn, was used by the Diocese as its symbol during the Renew process. It is a hardy plant that thrives in arid conditions and flowers in winter. The healing properties of this plant have long been acknowledged by the people of the area. Through teaching, sanctifying and guiding, the Bishop as chief shepherd of the Diocese is called to minister healing, wholeness and unity in this particular local church.

4. THE SCALLOP SHELL is the symbol of a pilgrim, a reminder that “here we have no lasting city but we seek the city that is above” (Hebrews 13:14). The new Bishop has five times walked the Way of St. James, who was the apostle sent to preach the gospel in Spain and Portugal. He is being ordained Bishop, a successor of the apostles, in this year 2010 which is a Holy Year in Santiago de Compostela and, during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI who has a scallop shell in his Coat-of-Arms. The scallop shell is often used to administer the sacrament of Baptism and signifies the unity of faith we share.  The shape and lines of the shell reflect the fact that although we come from many different places and have followed different paths our goal is One: To live with God in the present moment forever.

5. The combining of these symbols is a call to all of us in this local church - from the vast expanses of the Klein and Great Karoo to the coastal Garden Route - to be One, so that the world may believe.

6. The personal motto of Bishop de Gouveia, which appears on the scroll beneath the shield, is “UNUM UT MUNDUS CREDAT” - taken from our Lord Jesus' priestly prayer in John 17:21: "One, that the world may believe."

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