The Most Reverend Edward P. Cullen

Bishop Edward P. Cullen

Bishop Cullen is the oldest son and second child of Edward P. Cullen, Sr. and Julia (Leahy) Cullen, both now deceased, who lovingly nourished the seeds of faith and vocation. Edward, with his older sister Joan, and his three younger brothers, Joseph, John, and James, grew up in St. Louis parish, Yeadon, where they attended the parish elementary school. Bishop Cullen attributes strong influence upon his own vocation to the priestly example of Reverend Edmond W. Walsh, Pastor Emeritus of Saint Louis Church.

Bishop Cullen entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary following his graduation from West Catholic High School. On May 19, 1962, he was ordained a priest by then Archbishop John J. Krol. Bishop Cullen's academic credentials include a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania (1970), a Masters of Education from LaSalle University (1971) and a Masters of Divinity from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (1974).

As a newly ordained priest Bishop Cullen served three years as Assistant Pastor of Saint Maria Goretti Church, Hatfield, and three years as Assistant Pastor of Saint Bartholomew Church, Philadelphia. Later, for nine vears, he served as chaplain to the Sisters of Mercy at their Merion Motherhouse. From 1979 to his transfer to the See of Allentown, Bishop Cullen resided at St. Edmond's Home for Children, where he served as chaplain.

For a span of twenty years, Bishop Cullen's priestly and professional life was spent in leadership and administration of Catholic Social Services, the largest voluntary social service agency in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the communities which comprise it, Bishop Cullen was known for his keen insight and vision of Church, his expertise in administration, and his deeply principled compassion toward those in need.

Papal Honors were bestowed on Bishop Cullen in April of 1982, when he was named Honorary Prelate to His Holiness Pope John Paul II. In August of 1988 Cardinal Bevilacqua appointed Bishop Cullen Vicar General and Vicar of Administration for the Archdiocese. Within that capacity Bishop Cullen served on numerous Archdiocesan Boards. His Excellency was ordained a Titular Bishop of Paria in Preconsilare and Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia on April 14, 1994, Bishop Cullen was installed as the Third Bishop of Allentown on February 9, 1998. Ad Multos Annos!

Coat of Arms of Bishop Edward P. Cullen

The Coat of Arms Bishop of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Edward P. Cullen, D.D.


Arms impaled. Dexter: Gules, a barlet Argent interlocked at the center by an annulet Or; between in chief two fleur-de-lis of the second and in base a plate charged with a cross of the field. Sinister: Gules, a chevron Argent between in chief dexter a garb of wheat Or and in chief sinister a star of the second; in base the crossed keys of St. Peter, Proper.


The episcopal heraldic achievernent, or the bishop's coat of arms, is composed of a shield, with its charges (symbols), a motto scroll and the external omatnents. The shield, which is the central and most important feature of any heraldic device, is described (blazoned) in 12th century terms, that are archaic to our modern language, and this description is done as if being given by the bearer with the shield being worn on the arm. Thus, it must be remembered, where it applies, that the terms dexter and sinister are reversed as the device is viewed from the front.

By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese, called the "Ordinary," are joined to the arms of his jurisdiction, in this case the Diocese of Allentown.

These arms are displayed on a red field which is used to call to mind the suffering and the shedding of The Lord's blood by which our salvation were achieved and which are perpetuated by and in The Church that The Lord established. On this field is seen a silver bar that in interlaced by a gold ring to signify the mystical marriage to Christ of St. Catharine of Siena, titular patron of the Cathedral Church in Allentown. Above the bar and ring are two silver fleur-de-lis that are taken from the arms of His Holiness, Pope John XXIII who established the Diocese of Allentown in 1961. Below the bar and nng is a silver plate that is charged with a red cross. This symbol is taken from the arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from which the Diocese of Allentown was carved and to which it is suffragan.

For his personal arms, seen in the sinister impalement of the device (right side), His Excellency, Bishop Cullen has retained, with a modification, the design that was adopted at the time that His Excellency was selected to receive the fullness of Christ's priesthood, as a Bishop, and which reflects his heritage and his life as a priest and as a bishop.

On a red field is seen a silver chevron. These main parts of the design are taken from the Cullen "family" arms. Above the chevron, to the upper left (chief dexter) is a golden garb of wheat. This Eucharistic symbol is taken from the Leahy "family" arms, and by using these in points, His Excellency, Bishop Cullen honors the heritage of his parents Edward Peter and Julia Catherine (Leahy) Cullen.

To the upper right of the design (chief sinister) is a silver star taken from the arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which His Excellency had the honor to serve as a priest and as an Auxiliary Bishop. Below the chevron are the crossed silver and gold keys of St. Peter, to honor the Bishop's second baptismal patron and which also symbolically expresses The Bishop's dedication and fidelity to the See of Peter and to the Most Holy Father.

For his motto, His Excellency, Bishop Cullen, has retained the three words "CHRIST - CHURCH - COMPASSION." Understanding historically that first came Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then came The Church that He founded and that Church was founded on Christ's Love and Compassion for all mankind, for He so loved the world that He gave Himself for us. These three words, then, sum up the history and the purpose of The Church, which is what all Christians should be all about.

The device is completed with the external ornaments which are a gold processional cross, that is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and with the pontifical hat, called a "gallero," with its six tassels in three rows, on either side of the shield, all in green.

These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop by instruction of the Holy See of March 31, 1969.

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