On July 5, 2017, Pope Francis named Bishop Zarama the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Bishop Zarama’s motto is “God is love.” For his coat of arms, Bishop Zarama adopted a design to reflect his life and ministry as a priest.
On a blue field is displayed an extra wide chevron of Gold (yellow). This device gives the illusion of two mountains; a gold one and a blue one. The gold mountain (the chevron) is charged with a scattering (semé) of red crosses to represent the bishop’s home city of Pasto, in southwestern Colombia, which is known as “The Theological City.” The lower mountain (part of the blue field) has a golden lion’s head to represent the Evangelist, Saint Mark, who is the titular patron of the parish in Clarkesville, Georgia, on a mountain, where Bishop Zarama served as pastor.
Above the chevron are a gold rose for Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, also known as “The Little Flower,” and a silver (white) lily for Saint Joseph, the Foster Father of Jesus, who have served as Bishop Zarama’s particular patrons throughout his life as a priest and now as a bishop.
The achievement is completed with the external ornaments, which are a gold episcopal processional cross that is placed in back of and which extends above and below the shield, and the pontifical hat, called a “galero,” with its six tassels, in three rows, on either side of the shield, all in green.
A diocesan bishop shows his commitment to the flock he shepherds by combining his personal coat of arms with that of the diocese, in a technique known as impaling. The shield is divided in half along the pale, or central vertical line. The arms of the diocese appear on the dexter side—that is, on the side of the shield to the viewer’s left, which would cover the right side (in Latin, dextera) of the person carrying the shield. The arms of the bishop are on the sinister side—the bearer’s left, the viewer’s right.