The diocesan Bishop is the chief teacher, sanctifier, and shepherd of God’s people. Most Bishops are given a diocese to govern spiritually, making sure the priests, deacons, pastoral workers and catechists in their diocese are preaching the Gospel and teaching sound doctrine to the flock. He is the principal teacher. The Bishop is the primary dispenser of all the sacraments. He has oversight of the liturgy.
He possesses the fullness of Orders, so that the fullness of Christ’s grace can flow through in sacramental form, to the sanctification of the faithful. Through his relationships with the priests of his diocese, the Bishop is able to shepherd the people of his diocese. The Bishops have been given a special outpouring of grace, to continue the work that the Apostles started.
When the seat of the Bishop is vacant (sede vacante), either the Consultors elect a Diocesan Administrator, or the Pope appoints an Apostolic Administrator. Either one serves as the ordinary (officer of the church) for a diocese until a new Bishop is appointed. The (Apostolic) Administrator generally holds the same authority as a diocesan bishop, but he is restricted by canon law in certain matters.
A Coat of Arms is traditional in heraldry. Symbols are placed on a shield which is often surrounded by distinctive markings to denote the occupation of the person and in this manner personal recognition is afforded. It is customary in the Church for each Bishop to have his own Coat of Arms. As his distinctive mark of his office, a Bishop has a hat, cords and twelve tassels placed around his shield. In coloured reproductions these are all in green, there is also a cross behind the shield with one cross bar.
Looking at Bishop Llanos’ shield we see that it is divided in three. The upper third bears the crest of the Llanos family from the 16th century in southern Spain. The castle in the centre denotes authority and leadership with a tiger on either side being the guardians of that authority. The gold background represents hope, the green represents peace and the red, chivalry.
The second segment bears a chalice and host in the centre, flanked by a dove on its right and the hearts of Jesus and Mary (Reverse of the Miraculous Medal) on its left. The chalice and host speak of the Eucharist which is the source and summit of our Catholic faith and centre of the Church’s life. The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit who is the gift of Grace that is the life of the Church and all its members. The hearts of Jesus and Mary contain the miracle of love, after which we all strive for perfection in Christ. The blue background represents the waters of Baptism and new life. The spiritual life of Bishop Robert Llanos is centred on these three elements.
The third segment bears three symbols that pertain to the beloved nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The sugar mill symbolizes the historical past of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the Antiguan black pineapple, its national fruit.
The image of the Holy Family reminds us of the centrality and importance of family life for the Church and the nation. Bishop Robert Llanos therefore sees his ministry as at the service of family life, Church and nation.
The motto which the Coat of Arms carries ‘Do Whatever He Tells You’ comes from the biblical passage on the wedding feast at Cana. This instruction indicates that Bishops Llanos’ life and ministry as a Bishop comes under the protection and guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary under whose authority he seeks to do the will of God in the service of God’s people. As in the wedding feast at Cana, obedience to the will of God is always fruitful and life-giving to those who partake of it. This command is therefore an instruction to the whole Church.