Stained Glass Windows

Traditionally in Catholic Churches the stained glass windows have told stories.  The stained glass in the main nave tells the story of God’s relationship with this people especially through the life of Jesus Christ.  The  seven sacraments are represented in the Chapel.  The etched glass that surrounds the narthex tells the life of St. Columbkille.

Main Nave

Facing the altar on the left,  begins with God’s covenant with His people. It begins with the story of creation and your eyes are drawn to the focus of the window – God’s hand. Proceeding to the left is the ark and the rainbow – God’s promise to never again destroy the earth by flood. Next is Moses with the 10 Commandments. The last window in the series shows the angel, Gabriel, appearing to Mary – the beginning of the story about God’s greatest gift to us.

Continuing to the left is the birth of Jesus, followed by two smaller windows. The first window symbolizes Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana and the second, the calling of the disciples depicted as fish and a net. The last window in the series is of Jesus’ baptism.

As you continue around the church to the left, the next window is of the Last Supper. The next windows symbolize the washing of the feet by the basin and towel, and a cock crowing reminding us of Peter’s denial of Christ. These windows are followed by a window recalling Christ’s death. The last window is of Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost.

The last series of windows is from the Book of Revelation. They begin with the lamb and seals followed by angels and trumpets announcing the second coming of Christ. The last large window represents the general resurrection and is followed by the symbol of the temple which depicts the heavenly city.

Chapel

To the right as you face the altar in the chapel is the first stained glass window which represents the sacraments of Eucharist – the cup and grapes – and Baptism – the shell and water.  Continuing to the second window the symbols are of Confirmation – the dove and flames and Reconciliation – the keys to the kingdom.  The back windows depict Holy Orders – the stole, sense and open book, Marriage – the Chi Rho and gold bands with flowers, and Sacrament of the Sick – holy oil and laurel, the symbol of peace.  Within the Chapel is the Reconciliation Chapel, which has a beautiful round stained glass window representing the story of the prodigal son.

Inside the Narthex

From inside the Narthex looking out at the main entry way, we see St. Columbkille in the far left window as a young monk in Ireland. In the back-ground is his first monastery in Derry. Also in this window is the large Celtic High Cross which still stands on the site of this first monastery today. Above the entry doors, is the symbol of Columbkille’s first miracle – he blessed a bucket of water and the water turns to wine. The middle window show Columbkille sailing from his beloved Ireland with his twelve followers. In the last window of that series, Columbkille is shown receiving kings, bishops, saints and the poor, who came for his advice and prayers.

The windows that surround the entrance to the main nave show Columbkille in the center receiving a visit from an angel, who asks him what virtues and gifts he would receive from God. Columbkille asks for wisdom and virginity. The angel tells him it was the Holy Spirit who led him to this choice.

Surrounding this scene are the waters which reappear so many in Columbkille’s long life. The waters he blessed in Lough Foyle, near Derry, and in Loch Ness, and in Barrow of the Banquet, were to cleanse the people and bring spiritual enlightenment.

The chapel windows depict Columbkille and his love for birds and beasts. The fox in the window refers to Columbkille’s baptism name, Criomhthann, which means “fox”. The gold moon is a reference to Finian’s dream, that Columbkille would rule in the northern district of Ireland. The “goose in flight” is the symbol of Christ, the Lamb, and the two angels on the doors were chosen because Columbkille is a saint known to be so often in the company of angels.

Our New Beautiful Stained Glass Windows!

And the story behind them

From the book of Revelation 4:6-7:

“surrounding the throne on each of it’s sides were four living creatures…the first looked like a lion, the second looked like a bull, the third had a man’s face and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight” See also Ezekiel 1:1-14 and Ezekiel 10:1-22.

In Christian art and tradition we see the the Gospel evangelists as:

Matthew – a winged man or angel – he starts his Gospel with the genealogy from Abraham to Jesus. It represents Christ’s human nature.

Mark – a lion – a figure of courage representing Christ’s Resurrection. (lions were believed to sleep with their eyes open) It represents Jesus in his tomb.

Luke – an ox or bull – which was a figure of sacrifice, service and strength. It represents Jesus’ sacrifice in His Passion and Crucifixion.

John – an eagle – a figure of the sky and believed by Christian scholars to be able to look straight into the sun. It refers to the Ascension and Christ’s Divine nature.