(The Right Reverend) Friar James Michael St. George, serves as Bishop of the Diocese of Saint Bernard Clairvaux (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and part of New York) and as Pastor of Saint Miriam Pro-Cathedral Parish, and is a professed Franciscan. He was ordained and consecrated a Bishop on Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Year A, June 7th, 2014. Father is a Seated Member of the The Archdiocesan Council, this Council is the equivalent to the US House of Bishops. He had been Bishop-Elect for the Diocese since June, 2013 wherein he requested of His Grace, the Presiding Bishop, to remain a functioning pastor of his parish, even after his consecration to Bishop. Father believes the best way for him to continue his work as a Franciscan, and the work of the Petrine Ministry, is by his remaining an active pastor. Father is also completing his work toward the Novitiate for the Franciscans, Order of Saint Francis, Old Catholic (OSFoc), professing his Vows in June 2013.
He was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, the son of Alton and Ruth St George. He has one sister, Andrea, who lives in their hometown with her husband, Glenn, and two children, Matthew and Stephen. Father graduated from college and became a licensed Funeral Director and returned to help run the family funeral home before going back to college to attend formal seminary in Washington, DC. In addition to his prior funeral and business professional experience, his career has allowed him to serve as a youth pastor, nursing home and hospice chaplain, and as a Certified Trauma Chaplain covering primarily trauma and triage emergency services. Father Jim served as a Trauma/Triage Chaplain at Lehigh Valley Hospital, a nationally recognized trauma and medical center in Allentown for over almost seven years.
In addition to his serving as Pastor at Saint Miriam, Father is an Adjunct Professor and Instructor at two Philadelphia area universities teaching in the areas of Ethics, World Religions, Philosophy, Introduction to Bible, Religion and Culture, Catholic Theology and Urban Studies and Justice. Father Jim serves now, or has served previously served, on the Adjunct Staff for Community College of Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, University of Phoenix, and has lectured at The University of Pennsylvania and various churches and inter-faith groups in the Philadelphia region.
Father Jim is an alum of Gannon University, Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Howard University, Howard University School of Divinity, and completed additional course study and received certifications at Virginia Theological Seminary, Catholic University, St. Louis University, Canterbury Cathedral International Studies Centre, the Benedictine Abbaye Notre-Dame du Bec in Le Bc Hellouin, Normandy France, once the most influential abbeys in the Anglo-Norman kingdom of the twelfth century, Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA, and Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, in Residency within Clinical Pastoral Education. Prior to attending seminary, he was also certified as an eye enucleationist and has worked extensively with transplant patients, living donors, and their families.
Father Jim is a Member of the American Academy of Experts of Traumatic Stress, where he is Board Certified in Trauma Chaplaincy and as an Expert in Traumatic Stress. He also has been awarded the designation of Diplomate, in the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. He is also listed in The National Registry, The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and the National Center for Crisis Management and is a Member of the Association of Professional Chaplains. Father is also a member of the Order of Corporate Reunion. Father is an avid CrossFitter and supports the work of Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue in honor of his own Golden, Tucker! Father resides in Flourtown.
“Utique facere judicium, et Amor videor, et sollicitum ambulare cum Deo tuo”
Symbolism and Achievement…
The design of the coat of arms of The Very Reverend James St. George, Bishop of our Diocese, was done so with his direct request to achieve numerous spiritual and theological symbolisms important to him. The design was arrived at in consultation with The Very Reverend Gregory Godsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Southeast, who has years of service to the Church and is a source of great knowledge on heraldic design.
When it was introduced in Western Europe in the 12th Century, armory was used first by Monarchs and the greater nobles. Over time it was adopted by the lesser nobility, knightage, and gentry; and then institutions, including religious establishments. Sees, cathedrals, abbeys, religious orders and prelates adopted arms for use on seals. The practice evolved for archbishops and bishops to use on seals the arms of their see ensigned with a “precious mitre” (mitra preciosa), a mitre adorned with jewels; and for abbots to use the arms of their abbey surmounted by a “simple mitre,” with no jewels. Brass rubbings of medieval bishops’ effigies appear to indicate that the mitres were indeed studded with precious stones, now long disappeared. Because they are “married” to their sees, prelates may also impale their arms with those of their dioceses.
Bishop St. George’s Crest is done in Quarterly Gules, Or, and Azure countercharged per pale and per Cross or Quarterly, where the field in the first and fourth quarters a Cross of St. George is displayed; Or, upon the bishop’s staff; in the second quarter is a heart for charity and sincerity; in the third quarter the motto, founded upon Sacred Scripture in Paul’s Letter to the People at Corinth (1 Cor 16:14). The border is emblazoned with the cymbals of Miriam, sister to Moses, and Patron Saint of our Cathedral Parish, the first voice of the poor and marginalized and a precursor to Mary’s Magnificat. A bishop’s galero is Vert, or Green, with the color of his office within of Gules (Red) and bears six tassels on each side; the color originated in Spain where formerly a green hat was actually worn by bishops. The number of tassels denotes the rank of the clergy.
In heraldry, a motto has been a personal philosophy of life as well as a family dictum, and sometimes even a cry for battle. But in Church heraldry, a cleric’s personal motto has always been intended to represent his personal spirituality and theologically based philosophy of life and is most frequently grounded in Sacred Scripture or in a prominent prayer or litany. For Bishop St. George, this symbolism is found in four simple yet powerful words: Utique facere judicium, et Amor videor, et sollicitum ambulare cum Deo tuo, which translates alternately as, Act Justly, Love Tenderly, and Walk Humbly with Your God, taken from Micah 6:8. With this motto as his guide, Bishop St. George undertakes his episcopal ministry in The Diocese of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.
The Seal of The Diocese of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
The official seal for our diocese bears symbols marked by linear simplicity and include the Cross of St. George, to represent our Bishop. The Episcopal Mitre is proper in design with one horizontal “stripe” and the lappets are shorter in length and placed properly over the top edge of the shield. The gold roundels along the border represent tambourines, symbols of Miriam, the sister of Moses and the name of our Cathedral Parish. Blue and yellow not only cover the colors of the flags of the three states initially contained within our Diocese – the gold/yellow of New Jersey, and the blue of both New York and Pennsylvania, but blue also represents a bishop’s dignity. A reference to their spirit of seeking justice that is inherent within the framework of our diocese. The lower, left portion of the primary shield contains a segment of the Coat of Arms of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the founder and abbot of the Abbey of Clairvaux (see image at right). St. Bernard (1091-1153) was centrally responsible for the early expansion of the Cistercian Order throughout Europe and was considered a reformer of the Church. Tens of thousands heard his powerful preaching, and he personally attracted and helped many hundreds of men to follow a call to monastic life. Canonized in 1174 by Pope Alexander VIII and made doctor of the church by Pope Pius VIII in 1826, St. Bernard stands as one of the giants of the Christian spiritual and theological heritage, and his writings represent a peak in monastic theology and spirituality. His feast day is August 20th and is honored in our Diocese on the Sunday closest to the actual date. The lower, right segment of the crest includes a portion of coat of arms of Pennsylvania, where the Diocesan Cathedral and Bishop are located. It is adorned with two symbols of Pennsylvania’s strengths: An olive branch and cornstalk cross limbs — symbols of peace and prosperity. A nod, too, to the agricultural tradition of New Jersey.
It is tradition that the Bishop’s personal crest picks up some part of the Diocesan Crest. We honor this tradition with the presence of the St. George flag, on both seals, as well as the rounds of Miriam being present in both designs. Finally, the motto for the Diocese is “Deus meus et Omnia” and translated into English it reads, “My God and My All”, a nod to St. Francis and our Bishop’s Franciscan heritage as a Friar.
The Bishop’s Fund was established for, and is dedicated to, providing the financial support and tools for Ministries, Education, and Formation throughout the Diocese and to help spread the Gospel by reaching out to those in need with assistance and scholarship programs. The Fund uses 100% of its funds for its outreach and no administrative costs or salaries are taken. Parishes and other agencies will be able to apply for grants from the fund, which will awarded by the Bishop after consultation with the board of directors. You may make any size gift to the Bishop’s Fund. Your donations are deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.