Coat Of Arms Martin D. Holley
Quarterly Gules and Azure, a plow Argent, on a chief wavy Or, a fleur-de-lis Azure.
The Arms of Bishop Martin D. Holley consist of a quartered shield red and blue, charged with a plow silver (white). The "chief," or upper portion of the shield, is tinctured gold (yellow), the base wavy. The "chief" is charged with a blue fleur-de-lis. The colors red and blue have long been associated in the West and in heraldry with Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin.
The silver (white) plow recalls the admonishment of Our Lord to those who put their hand to the plow (Luke 9:62) and especially in the matter of the priestly vocation. The plow centered in the quartered shield emphasizes the priestly life focused on the cross. A further significance of the plow is in its commemorating the Bishop's forebears on the maternal side of the family who were sharecroppers; among their crops they raised cotton, hence the silver (white) tincture of the plow.
The cross formed by the quarterings of the surface of the shield together with the gold (yellow) "chief" honor Pope John Paul II and Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, with whom Bishop Holley will serve as an auxiliary bishop. Pope John Paul II has Arms bearing a gold (yellow) cross on a blue field, while Cardinal McCarrick has a red cross on a gold (yellow) field.
The wavy demarcation line below the gold (yellow) "chief" recalls Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico, city of Bishop Holley's priestly life and family home.
The blue fleur-de-lis on the gold (yellow) "chief" honors Our Lady in a special manner. The Bishop's mother, Mary Elizabeth, prior to her death, mentioned when she got to heaven she would shine as bright as the sun. When her mortal remains were being removed from the family home, a shaft of gold (yellow) light shone through the front door and an eagle circled overhead. One of Mrs. Holley's favorite hymns was "On Eagle's Wings" by Michael Joncas.
Below the shield is displayed the motto, HIS MERCY ENDURES, from Psalm 107:1. The motto is a brief statement and here proclaims a message of hope.
Behind the Arms is placed a gold (yellow) processional cross and ensigning the whole achievement is a pontifical hat with its six tassels on each side disposed in three rows all green. These are heraldic insignia of the rank of a bishop in accordance with the Instruction of the Holy See, dated 31 March 1969. Before 1870, the pontifical hat was worn at solemn cavalcades held in conjunction with Papal ceremonies. The color of the hat and the number of tassels were signs of the rank of the prelate, a custom still preserved in ecclesiastical heraldry.
The Arms of Bishop Holley were devised by A.W.C. Phelps, Cleveland, Ohio in consultation with The Most Reverend Martin David Holley, D.D., Tuesday, 1 June 2004.