EXPLANATION OF THE COAT OF ARMS OF
MOST REV. VALERIAN MADUKA OKEKE
ARCHBISHOP OF ONITSHA
The Archbishop's coat of arms has a striking image of Jesus the Good Shepherd in the shield. The image clearly presents Jesus as the Good Shepherd as graphically depicts in the gospel of St. John Chapter 10. The Good Shepherd according to Saint John is one who truly cares for the sheep and is ready to surrender his life in place of his sheep.
In other words, the shepherd carries with him the mission of giving life to the sheep. Therefore, the Gospel of giving life is central to the Mission of Jesus Christ, our redeemer. This mission is summarized in Jesus' own words, "I came that they may have life in abundance". It is this statement that gave birth to the episcopal motto of the Archbishop - Ut vitam Habeant.
Sharing in the priesthood of Jesus, Archbishop Valerian Okeke desires to further the mission of Christ the eternal high priest. He recognises that life is the "Most Elementary yet the most fundamental and the basis of any other thing we do. This is truly so because life itself is God. (Jn. 14:6) Life comes from God (Jn. 1:14) life has infinite value because it came from life itself (Gen. 2:7) ( That they may have life, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, Pastoral letter, 2004)
The Archbishop shares the conviction that if one must live the abundance of life which Christ promised, one must desire to live like Christ. Hence, it is only to the extent that "we actualise this modelling to Christ that we are living the life of Christ, the true Christian life, which ensures life in abundance. This Christ's life is life to the full, it is not partial life, it is life in abundance. Being life in abundance, no aspect of life is excluded from its sanctifying influence.