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Basilica of San Albino
Coat of Arms


A coat of arms is a design belonging to a particular person or group of people and used by them in a wide variety of ways. Unlike seals and emblems, coats of arms have a formal description that is expressed as a blazon.

A Basilica, or papal church is given a coat of arms, which is usually displayed on the building.

The Vatican has its own coat of arms, as the Coat of arms of the Holy See. There is at least an 800-year-old tradition for personal Papal coat of arms that goes back to Pope Innocent IV. Roman Catholic Dioceses also are assigned a coat of arms.

The coats of arms of the Basilica of San Albino, the Vatican, and of the Diocese of Las Cruces appear below.








Basilica Coat of Arms


The following description of the Basilica of San Albino Coat of Arms is written by Fr. Richard Catanach, the first Rector of the Basilica:

A coat of arms is the distinctive heraldic shield of a person, family, country, church or other organization. The Coat of Arms of the Basilica of San Albino encompasses many charges (symbols) that remind us of God’s holiness and power. A shield is a symbol of a defender offering the protection of God in our spiritual warfare & constant struggle against evil. The upper outline of this shield incorporates the design of the middle & top section of the façade of our basilica reminding us of its importance as a defender of the true faith. The left section of the shield is the same image of the diocesan coat of arms showing our unity to the Bishop of Las Cruces. The traditional ‘zia’ (symbol of the Zia Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and our state flag) is this section forms a cross (Christ’s protection) within a cross above the peaks of the Organ Mountains. Incorporated into the diocesan coat of arms is the façade of the Basilica standing in the foreground of these same mountains. The upper right section of the shield displays a dove (love and guidance of the Holy Spirit) with an olive branch. The fleur-de-lis at the bottom right of the shield is a French symbol & a tribute to the French ancestry of St. Albinus. It is also known as a symbol of Mary, Mother of God, and the colors of a white (peace) and black (constancy and grief) symbolize her life. The final section contains a bishop’s miter (symbol of the Holy Spirit as a flame descending on the Apostles, Acts 2:3) and crosier (a shepherd’s watchfulness over his flock), which are symbols of all bishops including San Albino, Bishop of Angers in Gaul (modern day France) ‘till 549 A.D. The gold (generosity) & silver (peace) keys forming an ‘X’ — the Greek letter ‘chi’ — is an ancient symbol for the name of Christ. The keys are also the symbol of the authority given to St. Peter by Jesus as stated in the Gospel of Matthew 16:19 (I will give you the keys to the kingdom…). The single, red (forgiving, especially toward a rival) tassel interlaced in the rings of the keys symbolized the Church’s authority to bind and loose sins. The ombrellino (umbrella) crowned with a cross and emblazoned with the papal colors of red & gold, symbolized the pope’s direct relationship with the Basilica of San Albino. It is shown half open in anticipation of a papal visit. The year 2008 is when the honor of being named Minor Basilica was bestowed. The bell below the shield is a representation of the largest of the three bells that hang in the bell towers and it symbolized the bell of the tintinnabulum located opposite the ombrellino near the sanctuary. Above the bell is a motto scroll with the Spanish words ‘ámense unos a otros’ reminding us the Mesilla’s Hispanic heritage but, most importantly, reminding us of the essential commandment of Jesus to ‘love one another’ as proclaimed in the seventeenth verse of the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of St. John.




Vatican Coat of Arms

Diocese of Las Cruces Coat of Arms


Vatican Coat of Arms

Diocese of Las Cruces Coat of Arms

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Basilica of San Albino
2070 Calle de Santiago | PO Box 26
Mesilla, NM 88046-0026
Phone: 575-526-9349 |  Fax: 575-647-1619