Archbishop Lucas, born June 12, 1949 in Saint Louis, Missouri, is the eldest son of the late George J. Lucas and Mary Catherine Kelly. He has one sister and two brothers. He completed his studies at Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Saint Louis, and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis on May 24, 1975, by Cardinal John Joseph Carberry. As a priest, Lucas served as associate pastor in parishes in Sunset Hills, Florissant, St. Louis, Normandy and Kirkwood, Missouri.
Archbishop Lucas took advanced studies at Saint Louis University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and Master of Arts degree in history.
In the years leading to his ordination as a bishop in Springfield, he served on the faculty of St. Louis Preparatory Seminary-North and St. Louis Preparatory Seminary, the chancellor and vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. He was named Honorary Prelate of His Holiness in 1994.
Archbishop Lucas is the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education. In 2011 he was elected to the Catholic Relief Services board of directors.
Archbishop Lucas’ Coat of Arms
Arms impaled. Dexter: Vert, a fess wavy Argent; overall a cross Sable. Sinister: per fess, Argent and Gules; in chief, upon a cross fleuretty Azure a crescent Or; in base the winged bull of Saint Luke Or, holding an open volume of the first.
The archiepiscopal heraldic achievement, or archbishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield, which is the central and most important part of the design, a scroll with a motto and the external ornamentation. The design is described as if the description was being given from behind with the shield being worn on the left arms. Thus, it must be remembered, where it applies, as the device is viewed from the front, that the terms “sinister” and “dexter” are reversed.
By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese who serves as “first among equals” within a church province, called a Metropolitan Archbishop, and his personal arms are joined with the arms of his jurisdiction, in this case the Archdiocese of Omaha.
The Green Fields of Nebraska
These arms are composed of a green field, which is used to signify the green farmlands of Nebraska. Across the center of the design is a silver wavy bar, called a fess, and it is used to represent the Missouri River that forms the eastern boundary of the See City of Omaha. The design features a cross of The Faith that was brought to America’s heartland by missionaries who normally wore black cassocks or religious habits, and thus, in the design, the cross is black.
For his personal arms, seen in the sinister impalement (right side) of the shield, Archbishop Lucas has retained the design that was adopted at the time of his selection to receive the fullness of Christ’s most holy priesthood, as a bishop, but displayed here with a single modification.
The Bishop’s personal arms are composed of two sections. The lower half of the design contains a golden winged bull holding an open silver book, emblematic of Saint Luke the Evangelist. This charge is employed to honor the heritage of the Archbishop’s family and in particular to honor his parents George and Mary Catherine (Kelly) Lucas, whose surname is a variant of “Luke.” The winged bull is presented on a red field to honor the martyr Saint George, and the particular rendering of the winged bull comes from a presentation at the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Saint Louis, where Archbishop Lucas was serving as Rector at the time he was called to become Bishop of Springfield in Illinois.
The upper portion of the design presents a blue cross fleuretty (each arms ends in a fleur-de-lis) on a silver field. This symbolism comes from the arms of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, where Archbishop Lucas served for 24 years in priestly ministry. The modification to the Archbishop’s design comes here as he has added a golden crescent to the cross fleuretty to signify the 10 years that he served as Bishop of Springfield in Illinois.
For his motto, Archbishop Lucas has retained the phrase “GRACE AND MERCY.” This phrase is an excerpt from the Book of Wisdom (Wis. 3:9), which reads in full: “Because grace and mercy are with His holy ones, and His care is with His elect.” By the use of this phrase, therefore, His Excellency expresses the deep and profound Christian belief that in and through Jesus Christ, God gives to all of His Children all that they will need to sustain them on their life’s journey and to bring them to full life in heaven.
The achievement in completed by the external ornamentation which are a gold archepiscopal processional cross, (with two cross members) that is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and the pontifical hat, called a “galero,” with its ten tassels in four rows on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of archbishop, by instruction of The Holy See, of March 31, 1969.