The Windows of our Church
The stained-glass windows in the Roman Catholic church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Greenlawn, New York, pose a spiritual invitation to linger and meditate upon their relevance and inspiration. The windows are beautifully constructed with rich colored glass and are intended to instruct and inform. Within the main body of the church, 20 windows depict scenes from the life of Christ – from the Annunciation of the birth of Jesus to the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Over the main entrance from the vestibule, three panes depict scenes from the life of Saint Francis, the parish patron.
In the old Baptistry to the right of the vestibule (narthex), now the adoration chapel, the window display features the baptism of the Ethiopian by the deacon Philip which is described in the Acts of the Apostles. In the storage room to the left of the vestibule the stained-glass windows focus upon the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. These themes are continued in the windows in the adjoining sacristy.
Whether taken all together or even individually, the windows offer an opportunity to stop, reflect and meditate upon what it means to be a Catholic Christian – to know Christ, his life, his teachings and how we should apply them in our lives. Dropping into the church during a quiet period and sitting calmly and quietly in the pews you can allow the stories from the windows to instruct and educate you on the life of Christ. Visiting the other rooms and viewing their windows, you will get the opportunity to reflect on the Catholic way of life, of what it means to be a true follower of Christ.
As a single entity, the church building serves, not only as a very special place for the celebration of the sacraments, but also functions as a teacher and exhibitor of the Christian life. May you find the windows as instructive, as inspiring and as meditative as I do.
Deacon Jim Byrne
All Sacred Scripture is taken from the New American Bible at www.usccb.org
Catholic Encyclopedia extracts are taken from www.newadvent.org
As we begin our new church year, we are blessed and grateful to bring you this series of beautiful reflections by Deacon Jim Byrne throughout the coming months.
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