Stained Glass Windows
By the time you read this, I hope, our new “Trinity Windows” will have been installed. A big thank you needs to be offered to the family who generously donated to these windows. Also, I want to thank all the donors who gave to make the rest of the stained glass possible which we hope will be coning in March 2020. Here’s some things that are worth noting on the overall designs and then some particulars of the Trinity Windows.
The Windows In General
Almost all the windows will have a frame that looks like a set of pillars. The radius or round topped windows are intended to connect with the doors, niches for our statutes, the top of the pews, the vaulted ceiling, and even the arches on the front and side of the altar. This Romanesque style is intended to tie us into the ancient form that many churches from antiquity have used.
All the windows will carry the same color scheme with hues of blue with red and gold as highlights and some grey inside the columns. Some of the larger windows will all carry a set of golden rays coming from above, spreading out below, imaging the light, grace, or power of God coming down upon that which is imaged in the window and finally upon the viewer. The background is a random tile-work of rectangular shapes with, again, hues of blue. We thought about having some green in the tiles, but renderings were not pleasing to the eye as the simple blue hues. With this basic framing and background tying all the windows together, each window could then be set off by the images in the center of each window. Generally, we avoided faces, with some obvious exceptions for Jesus, Sts. Joachim and Anne, angels, and children. The use of symbolism, we believed would also allow for more variations in interpretation when gazing upon the windows in prayer. When words are placed in the window, the letters are blue set in a rectangular black background. This makes the words easier to read.
The Trinity Windows
The general theme of the so-called, Trinity Windows, were easily discerned considering that there were three windows which match in space and size. In each window there are images communicating the theme while words coming from the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed, the Father and Son windows coming from the former while the Holy Spirit window draws from the latter. On the top of each Trinity window is a red and green symbol interlacing a trefoil and triangle. There are many ways to symbolize the Trinity, and this was discerned to be the most pleasing treatment for these windows.
The window, “The Father,” is imaged with a hand coming down from heaven. Clouds are a common theological tool to express the divine or heaven. The hand does not point, as in some renditions of this approach, but is mostly extended in a gesture of power and peace upon the world, imaged by the planet earth. We made sure that one could even see Grants Pass if the viewer were discerning enough (grin!). Behind the and are the rays of God which emirate from a red symbol for the Trinity found at the top of all three of these Trinity windows. Behind the rays are the cosmos images in the sun, the moon, and a curving purple wisp of a galaxy with start in and around it as it flows down the window.
“The Son” window carries images that allude to Christ’s Suffering, Death, and Resurrection. The tools of suffering and death are easily seen in the center with three nails (one for each hand and one for the feet) and the crown of thorns. The lily found just beneath harkens to Christ’s resurrection. The curve of the lily curves in order to match a similar movement in all three windows. The text in the window was taken by the third stanza of the Apostles Creed where we recognize and proclaim that Jesus is the Christ, the Father’s only Son, and our Lord.
“The Holy Spirit” window was the most difficult to plan and design, but the ned result, we hope you agree, is full of power and meaning. The text from the Nicene Creed was too short to render in the window, creating an artistic imbalance with the other two windows and simply did not say enough. So, we chose the text from the Apostles Creed which solved both concerns. Significant images are first the dove. The dove harkens to Matthew 3:16 and Luke 3:22 where the Holy Spirit, imaged as a dove, descends upon Jesus after his baptism. Behind the head ofd the dove is the traditional symbol for the trinity. The olive branch shaped as a ring, symbolizes peace. This image is used throughout antiquity and can be found as the evidence that the storm of the flood had subsided when Noah sent out a dove which returned with an olive branch in its mouth (cf. Gen. 8:10-11). It was also Mt. Olive that Jesus where Jesus last moments with his disciples took place. Olives, once crushed exude oil which is used for food and healing. Jesus was also crushed and became our food in the Eucharist and healing through his Holy Spirit. The image of fire is multivalent. The Holy Spirit is spoken and seen as fire in several places in the Scriptures (Exodus 3:2, Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16-17, Acts 2:3-4, 2:41). The seven flames harken to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:1-2) that we believe are given to those who are baptized and confirmed.
Art, Theology, and Spirituality
Stained glass as a form of art has a long tradition in the Catholic Church. It is not an expression of merely art, but also of theology and spirituality. Stained glass windows were intended to help teach the stories and truths of our faith. When large numbers of people could not read, the stained glass windows helped the faithful know and share the faith. The action of stained glass upon the soul only happens when illuminated by a source. In the case of these Trinity windows, they will be lit by the most powerful light, the sun, which images the Son who is the light of the world (John 1:4). It is our hope that as you gaze upon these windows and the other windows to come, your heart, mind, and soul will be enlightened by the One who give us life and sustains you through times of darkness.
Fr. William Holtzinger