In the United States, Roman Catholic residential bishops traditionally join their arms, in a heraldic practice known as impalement, with the existing arms of their new diocese. This is not the custom elsewhere in the Church but has been so in America for most of its ecclesial history. Keeping with this custom, the arms of Bishop Coakley are now joined in impalement to those of Salina.
The heraldic device of the See of Salina is grounded in the historic arms of the earlier Diocese of Concordia, Kansas, founded in A.D. 1887, from which the Church of Salina sprang forth in 1944. The original heraldic achievement of Concordia was inspired by the papal arms of Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) who established this diocese in the ninth year of his pontificate.
The shield of Salina is divided into quarters by the Christian Cross, the emblem of our shared faith and common belief. This device was employed in the original Concordia arms. The cross is counter-charged (sometimes written as counter-changed), a term used to describe the mirror affect realized by an alternating, or reversing, use of two different colors. The Salina coat of arms makes use of gold and blue, gold being properly termed a heraldic metal and blue a heraldic tincture.
When quartering is achieved in heraldry, as is the case in the Salina arms, each of the four equal size resulting fields is assigned a number according to an ancient heraldic formula. The first of these numbered fields appears in the upper left hand side of the shield, known in heraldry as dexter chief. The first quarter is worked in gold, one of the two heraldic metals, which represents divinity and revealed truth. It is here in the Salina arms that a six-point blue star appears, sometimes known in heraldry as a mullet. This emblem was also found in the arms of Concordia and symbolizes the Marian title of "Our Lady of Perpetual Help," the patroness of the original cathedral-church at Concordia and now the principle patroness of the Diocese of Salina. Blue was originally selected for the mullet because of its identification with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Quarter two, known in heraldry as sinister chief, comprises the upper right hand side of the Salina arms. It is worked in blue, devoid of any emblems, and likewise represents the Blessed Virgin Mary. The third quarter, known as dexter base, mirrors the second quarter in hue, simplicity and symbolism. Finally, quarter four, known as sinister base, completes the Salina arms. It is likewise worked in gold and is charged with the red heraldic image for the ecclesial title of "the Sacred Heart of Jesus," representing the titular cathedral of the See of Salina.