The left half of the shield contains the arms of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (of which Saint Kilian Parish is a part). The black color of the field reflects the arms of the City of Pittsburgh in which the checkered bar depicts a counting board from the arms granted to William Pitt who was chancellor of the Exchequer of England and for whom the City of Pittsburgh is named. The colors of the bar in the original Pitt grant were changed to silver and blue; and the coins of the treasury were transformed into crosses. The sword was added in honor of Saint Paul, the patron saint of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The right half of the shield is distinct to Saint Kilian Parish. The field colors, blue and gold, are those of the arms of County Cavan, Ireland, the land of Saint Kilian's birth. The red and white checkered bar are the colors of the arms of Wurzburg, Germany, the geographic area in which Saint Kilian preached and where he was martyred. The cross (also taken from the arms of Wurzburg) is an enduring Christian symbol. It reminds each disciple that Christ calls us to take up the cross (Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24). The plow represents the historic agricultural heritage of the communities the make up the parish. It also represents the work of the parish at the present time in plowing new fields. Finally it recalls the words of Jesus: "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62).