While the Episcopal motto of a Bishop points to his personal area of interest in line with his dispositions for the apostolate, his Coat of Arms symbolically explains his duties as enunciated by the requirements of the Episcopal office.
Below are the explanations of both the personal motto of Bishop Peter Nworie Chukwu and the content of his Coat of Arms.
Under the Coat of Arms of Bishop Peter Chukwu is the motto: TOTUS TUUS EGO SUM (I am totally yours). This is derived from the words of consecration TOTUS TUUS EGO SUM ET OMNIA MEA TUA SUNT (I am totally yours and all I have is yours) by St. Louis de Montfort. Bishop Peter Chukwu has by these words expressed his resolve to offer and dedicate himself entirely to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to Our Lord Jesus Christ. By choosing this as his episcopal motto, he also, in a secondary sense, tells the priests, religious and laity of the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki: “I AM TOTALLY YOURS.”
The cap represents the two caps worn by the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and Abbots known as the Mitre and the Skull cap. The cap on the Coat of Arms signifies protection and crown. The green colour of the cap indicates of the green vegetation enjoyed by the territorial space of the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki and the sacredness of the life therein.
In Bishop Peter Chukwu’s Coat of Arms, the green cord is woven into the cap. The cord here resembles the cincture worn by priests while celebrating mass. The cincture is a symbol of chastity which is an important virtue in the priestly life. He uses the green cord to remind himself that his resolve to maintain chastity should be evergreen in his life and ministry as a Bishop.
CROSS WITH RED DOTS
The cross is a symbol of our salvation and our acceptance of our Lord Jesus Christ. The five red dots signify the five wounds of Jesus Christ on the cross evidently affixed on the Paschal Candle on Holy Saturday.
Bishop Peter Chukwu acknowledges the cross as a source of victory and healing bearing in mind that without the cross, there is no crown. The cross here, though a sign of suffering, is shown from the handle of a sword. The sword is a weapon of warfare. In fighting the battle against principalities and powers (Eph 6:12), the victorious cross is a ready armor.
SACRED HEART OF JESUS
In the Coat of Arms of Bishop Peter Chukwu is the symbol of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The heart of Jesus is the heart of Love and Compassion. By consecrating himself to the heart of Jesus, Bishop Peter Chukwu chooses in a more precise manner to act in persona Christi Capitis.
IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
The consecration of Bishop Peter to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is shown with with this symbol. He enjoys the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary while, at the same time, embracing the brokenness that accompanies the heart pierced with sword (Luke 2:35)
The symbol of the Lamb with a flag in Bishop Peter Chukwu’s Coat of Arms is to remind himself that he is not just a priest or Bishop but also a lamb of sacrifice, a co-victim with Christ. The idea of victimhood is meant to help him accept without complaints, the crosses and difficulties of the episcopate. He is assured of a share in the victory of Christ for as many as share in his suffering, will share in his glory (1Peter 4:13).