Questions for Fr. Luke?


I am Fr. Luke Meyer, your new Pastor. I’m eager to dive into this new adventure, get to know you, and learn about this parish community in the weeks and months ahead.

I grew up in Lisbon, ND, going to high school there, graduating with the class of 1998. Go Broncos! Nestled in the Sheyenne River valley, Lisbon and St. Aloysius were such a wonderful civic and church community. My parents are Dave and Candice Meyer; they moved to Fargo in 2005 and have been members of this parish since then.

Then, I was off to college at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. I began my college years thinking about studying engineering or a business field, but changed course and began to study philosophy and Catholic Studies at the semester break of my sophomore year. After a couple of good years in the residence life of the dorms, I moved from Brady Hall to St. John Vianney College Seminary my junior year in the great Jubilee Year 2000 to discern my vocation with greater focus and intentionality, making the decision to enter major seminary after my college years.

I moved to Denver in 2002, and had four great years at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. We had a tremendous Rector, Msgr. Michael Glenn, and a wonderful team of faculty of priests, Religious Sisters of Mercy from Alma, MI, and lay theologians who were all an inspiration in their own way. The seminary in Denver is also where I came upon the idea to have Bernese mountain dogs, as Bart was the seminary dog that Msgr. Glenn had. Now, you may see Basil or Bernadette (Berna for short), my two Bernese mountain dogs, around the office during the week, or out for a walk in the mornings or evenings.

After ordination in 2006, I spent two good years with Fr. Dale Lagodinski at St. John’s in Wahpeton before serving Bishop Aquila and the Diocese of Fargo as Chancellor, secretary, and Director of Liturgy for seven years. I also learned a fair amount from working with Bishop Kagan during the year we were waiting for a new Bishop, and Bishop Folda’s first two years. I remember being here for the dedication of the new church and altar in 2010, which was a joyous day for sure!

Since 2015, I have served at St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center on campus at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. I poured my heart and soul into campus ministry, and came to really love the mission of evangelization with university students. I was a bit surprised when Bishop Folda first approached me about coming here, and I am grateful for his confidence in me to serve as Pastor, along with the encouragement of so many of my brother priests. While it was hard to say goodbye to my students in Grand Forks, I know this new assignment is part of God’s wise and loving plan, and I am excited to serve you in the months and years ahead. Please feel free to introduce yourself after Mass, around town, or whenever our paths cross. I am looking forward to this new adventure. (July 3, 2022)

Fr. Luke on Social Media

The Formal Blazon of Reverend Luke Meyer

The Formal Blazon of Reverend Luke Meyer

The formal blazon of the presbyteral heraldic achievement of Reverend Luke Meyer of the Diocese of Fargo in North Dakota.

Azure, an open bound book with winged orinscribed with the words « VOX PACIS ».

On a chief per pile reversed ployé or and azure a the medallion of the collor of Esses.

And for a motto:« VERITAS LIBERABIT VOS »

Symbolism in the Achievement

For some time, perhaps as long as a millennium, the Catholic Church has proscribed the use of coat of arms designs for her clerics—from simple priests to the Roman Pontiff, each given external attributes which immediately identify the bearer by rank, office and dignity. This insignia was intended to serve as the seals of office of each person in the church and to this day remains as such; particularly for those enjoying high position or office. Added to this honor of clerics bearing a coat of arms now are the permanent deacons, a post-Vatican II created office in the Latin Rite. Within this all-encompassing clerical grouping one finds the ranks of the three classes of cardinals, patriarchs (Oriental and Titular), archbishops and bishops (both residential and titular), all classes of the monsignori, as well as the canons (residential, collegiate, honorary and religious), abbots (in all forms), priors, and superiors-generals of the various religious orders of the Latin Rite. Also granted additional honors by rank and office are the Vicars General, the Vicars Forane and Deans and of course, simple priests.

The Very Reverend Luke Meyer, having served the Church of Fargo in several formal capacities, now serves as Vicar Forane and as pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center – the pastoral care center for Catholic students attending the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks as well as Catholic staff there.

Father Meyer was thoughtful and pensive in his decision making as to the assumption of his ecclesial heraldic achievement (known more commonly as a coat of arms). First of all, to pay homage to his paternal family, the shape of shield selected was one common to each of the German states at the time of the predominant German immigration into the United States; a shape shield common therefore in the kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities, free cities and prince-bishoprics then making up the collage of German peoples before World War I. And so to begin with, the shape of the shield honors his German heritage.

The main colors of this coat of arms design are AZURE (brilliant blue) and OR (gold). Each has a special meaning in the Meyer design and each has further meaning in Ecclesial heraldry as well. In Catholic heraldry, blue is traditional for homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is also the color of philosophy and theology, thus also teaching which is at present so important to Father Meyer as pastor of a major educational center in his diocese. Gold is representative of his priestly vocation, gold being one of the two heavenly attributes.

Although quite elegant, the Meyer heraldic achievement, the coat of arms, is actually quite simple. It is divided in terms of the main shield and a chief. What are these elements? A chief is not mandatory in every coat of arms design. When it is employed, however, the chief is reserved as a place of honor or a place to denote personal jurisdiction (either past or present). The space described as a chief in a coat of arms is a bar-like field that lies atop the base, or shield proper. It is never more than one third the width of a total achievement.

The chief in the Meyer design is quite unique. Its symbolic reference is unique to Father Meyer. It comes as a tribute to the Sheyenne River Valley, a region at home so dear to the Meyer family. In Catholic heraldry specific geographic references are not permitted, that is to say, an emblem specifically representing something secular such as a geographic logo, is forbidden. To achieve this desired homage, however, the designer has made use of a time-honored (but rarely seen) line division which accurately depicts what is desired in this design. The choice of a ‘per pile reversed ployé’ line division is how this tribute has been achieved. How is this best explained? At the very top center of the shield is a point from which, in a downward motion, flows a reversed arch on either side. What does this demonstrate in the Meyer design? In this sweeping downward motion this point opens wide. Inside this area the color is blue, a heraldic tribute to the Sheyenne River. The blue represents the river’s cool waters but moreover, as one might expect, it also depicts the manner in which the river typically overflows its banks. As all in this region of the country know, the Sheyenne is a ‘perch river’ which means its banks along the length of the river are higher than the surrounding ground, which have for more than a century formed a natural levee preventing flooding. When floodwaters do break through at a given point, they spread wide and fast across the ground creating a massive swath of water across the breached area. The choice of a line division within the chief of a ‘per pile reversed ployé’ depicts in a heraldic manner what happens when these historic breaches occur; it thus achieves a unique tribute to the Sheyenne River and the entire region at-large. The point in this design (at the top center) herein represents the point in which the Sheyenne may break, or has broken in the past, through the banks; the downward wide swath and the furious flow of the Sheyenne resulting. From the point in the shield the wide opening in blue represents this flow and this region’s unique history.

The chief in the Meyer design, as we have seen is worked in gold and blue – Gold being one of the two heavenly attributes, thus representing his priesthood. So pure is gold that the Church long ago assigned it to represent the Divine in heraldry—God’s infinite power, love, justice and mercy as well as Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind and the Holy Spirit’s abundant grace. It is for this reason that the flag of the Holy See and the Vatican City State are rendered in yellow and white which are the modern forms of displaying gold and silver (silver being the second of the heavenly attributes). By incorporating gold into his design as his primary metal, Fr Meyer pays homage to his priestly vocation and his deep love for the Triune God.

In Catholic heraldic law, priests who serve (or have served) as a chancellor or vicar forane or dean may depict this service by the medallion of the Collar of the Esses, known also as the Chancellor’s Chain. It shows that a cleric has been entrusted with high level canonical responsibility within his home diocese; the chain and medallion design come down to us from pre-Tudor England. This is not to suggest that this insignia is entirely English. In fact it has a much-wider history. Within the chief is found the medallion of office commemorating Fr. Luke’s official service in the Fargo Diocese. This medallion forms part of the Collar of the Esses which predates the Tudor period in England, was worn by all its religious (Cardinal Wolsey) and secular (St Thomas More) chancellors. From then it passed into the Christian Church, both Protestant and Catholic, as a heraldic emblem representing formal canonical service to the local church. From England it passed to Ireland and from there to Scandinavia as well as throughout Northern Europe, particularly in the Roman Church. Again, the collar was not worn by churchmen in the Roman Church; it solely became one of its approved heraldic symbols of office.

The main shield, the base portion of the coat of arms, is worked in blue. Blue is one of the main colors (tinctures) in heraldry and in Catholic heraldry it is set aside as homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary which was one of Father Meyer’s desire for this design process. Upon this field is found an open book bearing the words VOX PACIS, translating to the voice of peace, a reference to a grace from a silent retreat in Lent 2009 of the particular call of Father Meyer’s preaching and teaching, evoking themes present in John 1:23 and John 14:27.

As a tribute to Thomas Aquinas, the book is depicted as having angels’ wings. It is bound and bordered in gold which herein represents the purity and perfection of the Triune God (a repetition of the heavenly attribute). The book is therefore homage to St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic doctor of the Church, who is special to Father Meyer both in his own formation at the University of St. Thomas, and also because Saint Thomas is the titular of his current assignment at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Newman Center. Saint Thomas is known in the church as the Angelic Doctor for his clean and concise explanation of all of theology, and in a particular way, the presence of angels in the heavenly hierarchy. It was Aquinas who defined the nines choirs of angels as we know them today: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. These two wings are also a reference to the unity of faith and reason, two wing my which the mind comes to know the truth.

Thus comprises the explanation of the design of the shield of Father Luke Meyer. However, there are external elements to every coat of arms design that must also be explained. Surmounting the shield is the pilgrim’s hat, the heraldic emblem for all prelates and priests of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. For the rank of simple priest, the pilgrim’s hat is always worked in humble black, the true color of the priesthood, but the interior is always rendered in blood red to show that like the cardinals of the church, all clerics may be called to spiritual or physical martyrdom for their embrace of a vocation within the church, especially in the turmoil of today’s world.

For the rank and office of parish priest there is but one black tassel suspended on either side of the shield but in the Meyer’s heraldic achievement we find that there are two tassels, (fiocchi to give them their proper name), suspended on either side of the shield. The tassels and ropes for priests are always black. And so we see in this design a black hat with black tassels and roping. The privilege of two tassels belongs to the chancellors, the vicars forane, and the deans. It is a privilege granted for lifetime, even when tenure in these offices ends.

Once again, the hat is properly known in the Church as the galero and the tassels take the name fiocchi with the roping taking the name of cordiere.

Below Father Meyer’s shield is found the insignia of office of a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the rank and honor that Father Meyer enjoys in this pontifical order of knighthood. The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre is directly under the governance of the Holy See and has been in existence for more than twelve hundred years. Its grand master (head) is always a cardinal resident in Rome, appointed directly by the reigning pontiff. Members of this Equestrian Order form a part of the Papal Chapel and are appointed only by order of the Cardinal-Secretary of State of His Holiness. The actual insignia and neck ribbon of this order is depicted heraldically according to long-standing custom. Found just below the shield, it is painted in a way that mimics the actual insignia of the honorees’ rank and the manner in which Father Meyer would wear it around his neck at functions of the Equestrian Order.

A note must be made here by saying that Church heraldic law permits only the inclusion of the depiction of insignia of the Orders of Malta and the Holy Sepulchre for all clerics. No other orders are permitted to be depicted in coats of arms borne by priests and bishops all other clerics of the Latin Rite.

Overall, Father Meyer’s presbyteral coat of arms has remained faithful to the style of heraldry originally developed in the Middle Ages. It is this ancient style that the Church continues to demand in the seals of office of each diocesan bishop, and of the co-adjutore and the titular bishops as well, whose seals traditionally derive from the design of the personal coat of arms of each rank and office of the church. It is also the style demanded of priests of all ranks and stations according to the norms first laid down by Rome in the eleventh century.


In heraldry, a motto has been a personal philosophy of life as well as a family dictum, and sometimes even a cry for battle. But in Church heraldry, a priest’s personal motto has always been intended to represent his personal spirituality and theologically-based philosophy of life and is most frequently grounded in Sacred Scripture.

Father Meyer has selected—


for his motto, which can translate to the truth will set you free, a dictum by which Father Luke Meyer lives out his priesthood as a presbyter of the Diocese of Fargo.