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John C. Wester

Ordained a priest on May 15, 1976.

Consecrated and installed as auxiliary bishop of San Francisco and appointed vicar general on September 18, 1998.

Appointed Bishop of Salt Lake City on January 8, 2007.

Installed as the twelfth Archbishop of Santa Fe on June 4, 2015.

Archbishop Wester's
Coat of Arms

The Most Reverend John C. Wester’s Coat of Arms reflects Faith, Devotion and Union with Christ -- and contains symbols of his personal journey of faith:  The Sacred heart of Jesus, Mary the Mother of God, and words from the Gospel of Saint John the Evangelist.  The heart surrounded by thorns and surmounted by flames is the traditional symbol of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  This represents Archbishop Wester’s personal devotion to the Sacred Heart and his complete reliance on Christ’s ineffable and unfathomable love.  As the church prays during the Eucharist, it is in Christ that we live and move and have our being.  It was on Friday, June 19, 1998, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, that Archbishop Wester received news of the Holy Father’s call to become a bishop.

The red rose, or rosette, is an ancient symbol of Mary, the Mystical Rose.  Archbishop Wester’s family has lived for many years in Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Daly City where he attended grammar school and furthered his deep devotion to the Mother of God, a devotion which took its beginnings in the cradle of his home where the rosary was often prayed.
The Book of the Gospels is open to the first words of the Gospel of Saint John the Evangelist, Archbishop Wester’s patron saint:  In Principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum.  (In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God.)  Archbishop Wester humbly acknowledges his desire to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, at all times and in all places.  By following Christ’s call, he seeks to reflect the light of Christ in our world.

The pronounced use of blue and green gives witness to Archbishop Wester’s Swedish and Irish heritage, and so honors his father and mother, Charles and Helen, the first teachers of their son in the ways of faith and love.

Archbishop Wester’s motto, “Abide in Christ,” also honors the Evangelist of the Fourth Gospel and is taken from Jesus’ discourse at the Last Supper, John 15:4 “Abide in me, as I abide in you.”  The use of the word “abide” underscores the intimate and permanent relationship we have with Christ.  As branches only live if they are attached to the vine, so we live only in union with Christ, the Lamb of God.  All this is seen in the sinister impalement (right side) of the device.

By heraldic tradition, the arms of an archbishop, (impaled) with the arms of his jurisdiction, seen in the dexter impalement (left side) of the shield, in this case the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  These arms are composed of a red field (background) on which is displayed a gold (yellow) cross, of “The Faith,” to signify the name of the See City, “Holy Faith.”  In the upper left quarter, that is created by the cross, is a tower triple-towered, of Castile (Spain).  Issuing from the base of these arms are the crossed arms of Christ and St. Francis of Assisi, a classic representation of Saint Francis, to honor the titular of the Cathedral in the See City and also the Franciscan Missionaries who first evangelized in this area.  All these arms are rendered in red and gold (yellow) which are traditional Spanish colors, signifying that the area around Santa Fe was, for a long time, a Spanish Colony.  The device is completed with the external ornaments which are a gold archiepiscopal (two cross members) processional cross, which is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and a pontifical hat called a gallero, with its ten tassels, in four rows, on either side of the shield, all in green.  The Pallium, which is seen below the shield, is the symbol of a special relationship with the Pope and expresses besides the power, that, in they are in communion with the Church of Rome.  The Pallium is worn by Metropolitan Archbishops; those who oversee a Province of Diocese.  These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of Archbishop, by instruction of The Holy See of March 31, 1969.

Archbishop John C. Wester Receives Pallium


Archbishop John C. Wester Formally Received Pallium Monday, October 5, 2015 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, NM. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, served as Pope Francis’ representative.
Archbishop John C. Wester was installed as our 12th Archbishop of Santa Fe on June 4, 2015 in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, NM.  On June 29, 2015, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, the liturgical event that recognizes the martyrdom of the two apostles and the foundation of the Roman church, Archbishop Wester joined 45 of his newly-named metropolitan archbishop brothers representing 34 countries to meet with Pope Francis, concelebrate Mass and receive their sacred palliums at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
During the Mass, Pope Francis blessed and distributed the palliums, his gift to each archbishop.  This was a break from the 32-year-old custom in which the Holy Father previously conferred the palliums on the new archbishops in attendance.   For more information regarding the pallium, please refer to Archbishop Wester’s column in the October issue of People of God on page 3. To listen to part of Archbishop Wester's homily, click here.

Archbishop John C. Wester's Homily from Installation Vespers June 3, 2015 Grateful to Archbishop Viganó, brother bishops, my family, my friends from San Francisco and Utah and all guests.  Know it is a journey and I deeply appreciate your time, expense and effort. Grateful in a special way for all from Santa Fe Archdiocese. Your hospitality and warm welcome have been a great grace for me. More > En Español>


Meet our new archbishop!

(courtesy of KRQE Channel 13)

Archbishop Wester speaks during press conference after being named archbishop of Santa Fe, N.M.
Archbishop John C. Wester speaks during an April 27 press conference in Santa Fe, N.M., after being named to lead the archdiocese. Archbishop Wester, who is currently serving as bishop of Salt Lake City, succeeds Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, who turned 75 last year. (CNS photo/Leslie M. Radigan, Archdiocese of Santa Fe)