Thomas Collins was born in Guelph, Ontario on January 16, 1947. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 05, 1973. After various academic appointments, he was ordained to the episcopate on May 14, 1997 and installed as Bishop of St. Paul on June 30, 1997. Just two years later, on June 7, 1999, he was installed as the Archbishop of Edmonton. On January 30, 2007 he was installed as Archbishop of Toronto, Ontario. On January 6, 2012, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Archbishop Collins to the College of Cardinals, with the official elevation to that position taking place in Rome on February 18, 2012. Thomas Collins became the fourth cardinal in the history of the Archdiocese of Toronto and 16th in Canadian history.
The Archbishop's Coat of Arms
Heraldry originated about a thousand years ago in Europe, where it was used by the warrior classes as a means of differentiating combatants on the field of battle. As Europe developed and the feudal warrior class disappeared, the practice of identifying one's possessions with personal emblems flourished. Ecclesiastical heraldry grew out of this practice, initially to differentiate between the various degrees of the clerical estate. The Pope and most bishops adopt a personal coat of arms, which today is used primarily to identify communications from their particular office.
The shield with a gold cross on a red background is based on that of St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ont., where Cardinal Collins studied, lectured and was eventually Dean of Theology and Rector. The Alpha and Omega recall Revelation 22:13, where Jesus says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." The open Bible and the chalice represent the two great ways in which we experience Jesus in the Church, in Word and Sacrament.
The symbol above the coat of arms of a red galero (wide-brimmed hat) with 15 tassels on each side, is a widely-recognized indication of a cardinal, commemorating the tradition (prior to Second Vatican Council) of the Pope's presentation of a red tasseled galero to new cardinals.The golden metropolitan cross behind the shield signifies Cardinal Collins' position overseeing an archdiocese (a metropolitan see).
"Deum Adora" (Worship God)
Taken from Revelation 22:9. When St. John seeks to worship the angel who has shown him the great visions of the book, the angel rebukes him: "Worship God."