This Week: Our Stained Glass Windows, Part I
To sit in St. James church is to be surrounded by the Communion of Saints. There are the people sharing the pews of course – companions on the journey of faith, baptized into the Communion of Saints.
But look up at the windows. We are embraced from all sides by the saints who people the calendar and even some, like Christopher and Philomena, who lost their dates in recent decades. Our elder brothers and sisters in faith – Mary and Joseph, Patrick and Bridget, Francis and Clare – that “great cloud of witnesses” who cheer us on from their place in glory.
Continue to gaze at the windows and the Stations of the Cross and see the names of other faithful aunts and uncles and cousins who share our lives in the
Communion of Saints. Parishioners in the early 1950s purchased the stained glass windows for $250 each, sometimes, as early records show, paying
installments of as little as $1.00 or $2.00 over weeks and months. Some windows and Stations record the name of the donor; others the name of the person the
donor wished to memorialize. And therein lie the stories.
J. O. Martin, a highly regarded parishioner and citizen, donated the Saint Christopher window in memory of his sons: Paul died in France during World War II and Jacques was lost when his Navy ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean in l943. Harry McGinnis chose St. John Chrysostom to remember his son Captain John McGinnis who perished in the Korean war. While he lived, Harry McGinnis sat in the pew by that window, in the company of the golden-tongued Church Father and his own beloved child. Lt. Col. Henry C. Drewes, USMC, was mortally wounded in the battle of Tarawa, and his family donated the Saint Matthias window in his memory. Father Mullarkey remembered his parents in the St. Bridget window. So many of the stories remain untold, but we know these holy men and women accompany us still.