The Coat of ArmsThe Coat of Arms is similar to the Coat of Arms of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui. It shows that St. Paul's College is a school sponsored by the Sheng Kung Hui.
The Scallop Shell
The scallop shell was the emblem of St. James the Great, who was the patron saint of pilgrims. There is a legend that he travelled to Northwest Spain, and preached there for seven years. He was later beheaded in Judea by King Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:2). According to the legend, his body was eventually taken back to Spain and buried at Santiago de Compostela. From the ninth century to the sixteenth century, hundreds of thousands of Christians came to Santiago de Compostela on pilgrimages.
Pilgrimages were expeditions made by individuals or groups to places where God had shown His power in some special ways. Often the journeys were long and dangerous. The pilgrims did not mind, because they believed their spiritual lives would be enriched and deepened by their pilgrimage. Often the pilgrim wore on his hat or cloak a badge indicating his destination. Those going to Santiago de Compostela wore a scallop shell. Perhaps it was a reminder of the small boats in which many of them travelled. Perhaps it had a more practical use as a vessel used in baptism or drinking vessel. At any rate, it eventually became a sign of pilgrimage in general, and a symbol of baptism, signifying new life.
The pilgrims carried new ways of thinking and of doing things to places that were badly isolated from the larger world. They were people on the move - people on the way to somewhere else. Like the pilgrims of old, Paulines are people on the move. When they leave school, many of them literally go to other parts of the world bringing new ways of thinking and of doing things wherever they go. Even those who stay in Hong Kong are also pilgrims, for life itself is like a journey from childhood to youth, to middle age and beyond. It can, and should, be a pilgrimage of mind and spirit towards a fuller and better life both for themselves and others; and like the pilgrimages of old, can enrich and deepen their spiritual lives in the process.
The Shepherd's Staff
The shepherd's staff was used by the shepherd to keep the sheep on the right path. Jesus often used this illustration in his teaching. So it has become the symbol of the care and guidance which the church minister (pastor or priest) gives to others. This kind of care involves showing active concern for the physical, social, psychological and spiritual well-being of a person in practical ways. It is not only clergymen who show this kind of care. Teachers and social workers too do it for many. All of us can do it in one way or another. It should be the aim of Paulines to show this kind of care for others. It is the aim of our school to care for the physical, social, psychological and spiritual welfare of all.
The key reminds us of the words of Jesus to Peter, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 16:19). William Barclay, a well-known Christian author, has written, 'The promise that Peter would have the keys to the Kingdom was the promise that Peter would be the means of opening the door to God for thousands upon thousands of people in the days to come. The plain fact is that it is not only Peter who has the keys of the Kingdom, every Christian has, for it is open to every one of us to open the door of the Kingdom to someone, and to enter into the great promise of Jesus Christ.' The key is always there. It really depends on whether we want to grasp it.
The Open Book
The open book reminds us of the Bible - open for us all to read. As the Bishop of Guidford has written, 'The whole Bible is a gift of God to the world. He guided its many writers and he watched over its editing and completion during many generations. For many years he has strengthened and guided his people through the pages of the Bible ... He continues to speak to us and our contemporaries as we read and study its pages.' God speaks to us through the Bible. Would we listen to him? The open book also suggests knowledge. Gaining knowledge is of course what we go to school for.
Above all these is a crown. The original description says that it is an 'eastern' crown. This may remind us of the tradition that the three wise men or Magi who came from the east to worship the infant Jesus were also kings. Tradition has generally supposed that they came from Persia or Arabia. But who knows? They might have come from as far away as China.
The crown may also refer to the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12). 'The Christian', writes William Barclay, 'has a royalty that other men have never realized, for, however humble his earthly circumstances, he is nothing less that the child of God.'
Undoubtedly the crown relates chiefly to the Kingship of Christ. Jesus the Saviour reigns. The decisive battle in the war against evil has been won by Jesus Christ on the cross. Men still rebel against his rule. That is why there is still so much trouble in the world. But he is King, and final victory is assured.
The power which earns for Jesus the title of King is the power of self-sacrificing love. In our school badge, the diocesan emblems are surrounded by a cross. The cross is the symbol of self-sacrifice. As Jesus died on a cross, the cross reminds us how much God loves us. As Jesus rose from the dead, the empty cross reminds us of Christ's risen life, and his victory over the powers of evil. However strong the forces of evil are, Love - Christ's kind of love - lives on and conquers all. So the cross is the Christian's badge. We are all encouraged to love God, and to love our neighbours as ourselves.
The Chinese characters in the motto under the cross are from Proverbs 1:7. They are usually translated in English as 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. 'The Hebrew version could be translated as 'The most important part of knowledge is reverence for the Lord.' We spend most of our time in school acquiring knowledge. Our motto reminds us that we must not forget 'the most important part.' The understanding of God gives a whole new dimension to our knowledge. Knowledge now becomes true wisdom. Knowledge makes sense when it is seen in this light.
The fact that the motto is in Chinese is significant. It was more the fashion at that time to use Latin for such a purpose. When St. Paul's College was founded, the main aim was 'the offering to Chinese youths of a modern, liberal education in the English language (but including the subject of Chinese language in the curriculum) upon Christian principles ...' Bringing together the cultures of East and West and the fostering of bilingualism have been the well-established traditions in the school. The success of so many St. Paul's alumni in the life of Hong Kong and other communities because of this training testifies to the far-seeing wisdom of the school's founders.