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The Clerestory Windows

The upper, or clerestory, windows, are of translucent glass with various symbols in stained glass. Like the nave windows, they were made in The Netherlands or Germany and installed in 1925. The symbols do not appear to follow any particular plan.

Beginning on the right side of the church facing the sanctuary and proceeding toward the rear, the windows are as follows:

Crown and Branches

The crown symbolizes the kingship of Christ. Branches and wreaths are symbols of triumph like the palms in the procession of Palm Sunday and the laurel wreath awarded to athletic champions.

Chalice and Host

The chalice and the host are symbols of the Eucharist. The chalice contains the consecrated wine, which becomes the Blood of Christ, and the host, which is the consecrated bread that has become the Body of Christ.

Sacred Heart of Mary

The fire issuing from the heart symbolizes the intensity of her love for God, the flowers the purity of her heart, and the sword, the sorrows that pierced it.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus emphasizes Catholic belief that Jesus is the Word of God made man. His physical heart, united to His divinity, is a symbol of redemptive love. The fire symbolizes the intensity of this love, and the crown of thorns surrounding the heart, the cost of the Redemption.

The Tree of Temptation

The Genesis account of the creation of humanity recounts that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat the fruit of a specific tree in the Garden of Eden. Satan appeared in the form of a serpent and persuaded Eve to eat of the “forbidden fruit.” She, in turn, convinced Adam to do the same. This violation of God’s command caused them to be banished from the garden. The tree is shown with a serpent coiling around its trunk.

Stars

A five-pointed white star is shown overlaying a similar golden star. Stars are often symbols of the Blessed Virgin. Among her titles are “Morning Star” and “Star of the Sea.”

Water Fountain with Seven Spouts

The water fountain symbolizes the pouring forth of the grace of God. God’s grace is given to humanity through the seven sacraments indicated by the seven spouts through which the water flows.

Anchor and Sun

The anchor is an ancient Christian symbol of hope. As an anchor holds a ship fast in the midst of a storm, so the faith holds the Christian safe in the world. The anchor with its crossbar was also a “hidden” symbol of the cross in the years of persecution in the Roman Empire. The sun signifies the triumph of Christ, the triumph of light over darkness.

Spear and Sponge, Cross with White Cloth

The spear and sponge are instruments of the Passion of Christ. In the Gospel account, Christ on the cross is offered a wine-soaked sponge to assuage his thirst. The spear recalls the spear that pierced the side of Christ. The cross, draped with a white cloth symbolizes the Resurrection — the cross without the body of Jesus but with the burial sheet discarded by the resurrected Lord.

Dove with Branch

A dove sent from Noah’s Ark returned with a branch showing that the flood had receded. It was a sign of God fulfilling his promises to Noah and to all humanity.

City on a Hill

The city on a hill is a symbol of the Church. Easily seen because of its prominence, the Church is an example to all of humanity. The city is also representative of the “New Jerusalem” prophesied in Scripture. We find it in Matthew 5:14 where Jesus tells his listeners, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Crossed Keys

The crossed keys are a symbol of the power of binding and loosing sins. In Matthew 16: 19, Jesus gives this power to Peter saying “I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Continuing from the rear of the church up the left aisle.

Tablets of the Ten Commandments

The ten commandments are represented on two stone tablets. The Book of Exodus narrates the account of Moses’ encounter with God on the top of Mount Sinai. There he received the commandments from God Himself and engraved them on two stone tablets.

Plant Coming from Water

Plants and flowers are signs of the renewal of life. The plant issuing forth from water symbolizes new life coming from the waters of Baptism. It is a symbol of new life and resurrection.

Hammer, Nails and Pliers Surrounded by Crown of Thorns

These are instruments of the Passion of Christ. The hammer and nails affixed Jesus to the cross and the pliers drew out the nails after His death. The crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head by the soldiers of Pilate when they mocked him as “King of the Jews.”

White Rose

This is also called the “Christmas Rose.” It is a white hardy rose that blooms at Christmastime in several countries, notably in England.

Water Fountain

The fountain of water is a symbol of Baptism. In the waters of Baptism we are washed clean and become sisters and brothers of Christ.

“IHS” with Three Nails beneath and Cross above

These are Greek letters, the first three Greek letters of the name “Jesus.”

“I” corresponds to “J”, “H” to “E”, and “S” to “S”. The three nails and the cross recall the crucifixion of Christ.

The “Brazen Serpent”

In the 40 years in the desert, the Jews were attacked by poisonous snakes. Moses fashioned a serpent of brass, held it over the people on a rod or staff, and all who had been bitten were healed. Later, this was seen as a foreshadowing of the cross of Christ over the people healing them of their sins.

Ark of Noah

The ark of Noah is a symbol of the salvation of the people from the flood, also of the Church as the “ark” in which God’s people are protected.

“MR”

The letter “M” stands for Maria. The letter “R” stands for Regina. Maria Regina is Latin for “Mary our Queen.”

The Alpha and Omega on a Book

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They symbolize Christ as the beginning and end of time. The book represents all of history, all of time.

The Heavenly City of Jerusalem

The heavenly city is described in the Book of Revelation. Scholars consider it a symbol of the Church on earth that will be brought to perfection at the end of time in heaven.

The Ark of the Covenant

In the Book of Exodus we read that God commanded that the Ten Commandments written on two flat stones be placed in a chest of acacia wood. Two poles of this same wood, covered with gold, were placed through rings attached to the chest so it could be carried. Since the Ten Commandments were the covenant between God and humanity, the chest containing them is known as the “Ark of the Covenant.”

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