Archbishop Palmer-Buckle explains his “Coat of Arms”
I caught up with the Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle and asked him the meaning of his “Coat of Arms”. This is what he had to say.
“The shield is divided into four parts. Read it as you are facing it, you may divide it into a,b,c,d in a clockwise direction.
The first half, a,b., tells my personal story and c,d the story of the Archdiocese. So starting from the story of the Archdiocese, d-is the Holy Spirit, white in colour on a red background sending down seven rays, representing the seven gift of the Spirit onto the Church. This is because the Archdiocese of Accra with its Cathedral is dedicated first and foremost to the Holy Spirit.
The corner c-represents Accra which is symbolised by the termites, not soldier-ants as some think. The Ga represent theselves by termites and the termite hills (Gbotsui ma shi dani Ghana ba!) which abound in Accra, you will remember some around Achimota.
Three termites stand for community and communion, and termites are well known for their orderliness and respect for hierarchy as well as for individual responsibility in the social well-being of all.
This corner c is underpinned by the sea, which is where Accra is and for the Ga, the sea represents divine providence known as Nai. It is from the sea that Ga claim they came and whenever in danger they
take refuge into. Besides, Ga earn their living by the sea and in the sea.
Interesting enough, my father was Ga, represented by the c corner and according to Ga custom, I am Ga since the Ga are patrilineal.
The b corner, lower right hand corner is the story of my mother and her clan. Against the background of a bright blue and white clouded sky is a light-house in the sea on an island, the only one in Ghana, at Axim known as Bobo’awusi. This island is my mother’s family heirloom and identity, showing wayfarers out at sea the way to the safety of land.
And standing on the land with its head looking towards the light-house or in the glare of its light is the crow, the totemic symbol of my mother’s clan -NSONA in Twi or Ezohile in Nzema.
I was born in Axim and according to Akan custom, I belong to my mother’s lineage, which is matrilineal. The sea here also represents divine providence.
The ‘a’ corner is the symbol of Mary mother of Jesus Christ represented by the letter M with the Cross in the V which means Virgin. This is golden in a light blue background, colours of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is symbolic of my personal love and devotion to Mother Mary my personal spiritual path to Christ Jesus her son.
I chose the text OMINIBUS OMNIA FACTUS SUM from 1Cor
9:22 (I think so) which reads, ‘I make myself all things to all men in order to win some for Christ’. I was inspired to choose this because of the cosmopolitan and inter-religious nature of the Archdiocese of Accra where I was now being called to serve Holy Mother Church.
I hope to do so with the help of Mary the Mother of Christ and under the power of the Holy Spirit, looking at my own very mixed ethnic background.
I should have added the symbol of the Pallium to stand for the Metropolitan See of Accra, but this is yet to be included somewhere. I see it however in the tail end of the Greek episcopal cross the runs from the top to the bottom of the shield. The green episcopal hat represents a Bishop and the four rows of tassels of the cincture are symbolic of an Archbishopric.”