Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Story of Our Faith in Colored Glass

St. Joseph the Worker

Dear Parishioners,

In a society where we are often in an extreme hurry to go here and do this or that, we may unfortunately miss or take for granted the things that surround us every day.  I think of the white sandy beaches nearby with their accompanying sunrises continually greeting us as they ascend high above the mighty ocean’s waves.  Then there’s the colorful flowers and trees in bloom (albeit with loads of irritating pollen!) appearing daily beside houses and along the various streets and roads for our viewing pleasure.  Even in our church building, there are the picturesque stained-glass windows telling just a small portion of the glorious history of our faith through colors and images pierced the by sun’s rays.

It is these magnificent works of art found along the perimeter of our church that I wish to bring to your attention as we begin a project to restore them and to protect them for generations to come.  Perhaps you’ve noticed the various saints portrayed or some of the incidents in the life of St. Joseph, our patron.  Traditionally, these stained-glass images told Bible stories and the various lives of saints to a population that generations ago could not read or write but could see the colorful tales narrated in glass and lead as they prayed and worshipped.

Two of these windows are soon to be removed and completely restored.  You may have noted that some of the panels of the windows are cracked, some windows do not close properly, some lead supporting the glass has bowed or bellied, and that time and weather has begun to deteriorate each of these works of art to a greater or lesser degree.  We have had them evaluated and set up a plan to have them restored over time according to the most urgent need.

For the most part, the actual interior windows have been patched or repaired over the years (as needed), but a proper restoration will now begin.  This involves removing the windows completely, having them taken to a professional studio to be restored, replacing them into their original locations while repairing their fittings/frames (and surroundings) and protecting them exteriorly.

The project will be costly—the two windows nearing $15,000 to restore—but the alternative is to allow the windows to sit in disrepair and continue to patch them, while they deteriorate and become even more of an urgent issue as time goes by.

If anyone would like to memorialize a window as it is being restored, we will gladly accept donations for this project.  This can be done completely or partially (i.e., a group of families/parishioners combining efforts to restore a particular window).  A plaque under each window will indicate in whose memory the window was restored.

Every undertaking—even the loftiest—begins with an initial step.  Our stained-glass window restoration will commence with two windows.  Please take the time to appreciate the beauty of these windows which regularly surround us as we worship.  I want their beauty to endure for future generations to experience and to love.  You can certainly help us do this!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

St. Therese of Lisieux: "The Little Flower"
(A window in need of repair)

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