diocesan coat of arms
The coat of arms is the emblem of a person, place, or institution that is traditional in the Catholic Church. As a people and a place, claiming an identity as the most rural diocese in the nation, it is fitting that the prairie/field, represented in yellow, has been the permanent foundation of our diocesan coat of arms since the diocese was established in 1957. The symbol of the field of yellow grain is divided by the Minnesota River, represented in black. The three interlocking fish signify the Holy Trinity, the patron name of the diocesan cathedral. The lower left corner of the shield represents the City of Ulm, Germany, making a connection with the homeland of the early settlers. A geometric butterfly is incorporated into the upper right corner, known in Dakota as Oihanke Wanica, or "everlasting life."
"When the original diocesan coat of arms was designed, it included a second layer of symbols depicting three interlocking fish signifying the Holy Trinity for the cathedral. This layer included the shield from the city of Ulm, Germany, in order to make a connection with the homeland of early settlers. The original shield included symbols which were incorporated to signify an event in history, namely, the Dakota Conflict. Drops of blood covered the field of grain, depicting the blood shed during the conflict. A snake, which to the Dakota people is a derogatory term used only by their enemies, was placed in the river to represent the Dakota people who inhabited this prairie. Because the symbols of blood and the snake misrepresented the Dakota people and the Dakota Conflict, Bishop [Raymond A.] Lucker [second bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm] stated during his talk at his retirement celebration on February 18, 2001, that as his last official act as bishop, he would suppress the diocesan coat of arms.
"Shortly following Bishop John C. Nienstedt's [third bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm] installation, the revisions to the diocesan coat of arms became a priority. The process began with an initial graphic which was approved by the Tribal Council of the Lower Dakota people. The next step was Bishop Nienstedt's recommendation of the assistance of design specialist Deacon Paul Sullivan. In April of 2002, the new diocesan coat of arms was completed."
Passage from The Prairie Catholic, November 2007 edition.