And when Paul laid [his] hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. -Acts 19:6
Paul, known as Saul before his conversion, became one of Christianity's most influential missionaries. He embarked on numerous missionary voyages throughout the Mediterranean and his writings are in the canon of the Bible. He was beheaded in Rome during the persecution of the Christians under the Emperor Nero. According to St. John Chrysostom, Paul was known personally to Nero.
In our window, Paul is depicted in Ephesus where he had discovered that the disciples of Apollo have not been fully baptized into the Church; he proceeds to bring them into the Church through the "baptism of Jesus Christ" and lays hands on them. "In Acts of the Apostles, the Spirit is conferred through members of the Twelve (Peter and John) or their representative (Paul). This may be Luke’s way of describing the role of the church in the bestowal of the Spirit." * The holy Spirit descends upon the one being confirmed.
Paul is seated, the posture of teacher. He wears a mitre and pallium signs of the office of bishop and shepherd.
A bow, arrows, and oak leaves are depicted above the figures. Our Bow today is the Holy Spirit and the arrows are the gifts of the Spirit, (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). The Lord takes aim into the darkness of the world with the gifts of his church. The oak was one of the several species of trees that were looked upon as the tree from which the Cross was made. Because of its solidity and endurance, the oak is also a symbol of the strength of faith and virtue, and of the endurance of the Christian against adversity.
*NAB Commentary on Acts 8:16
Saint John Bosco
Saint John Bosco is known as the Apostle of youth. His priestly ministry was dedicated to showing boys the way to real success and union with God; in this work he fulfilled his ministry most perfectly, because he was, for hundreds of boys, the representative of Christ, a bridge from earth to heaven, a Christ bearer whose interests and zeal was concentrated in God's honor.
This window illustrates an incident from his life. Don Bosco, as he was known, was preaching in the Torino marketplace (one of the market stalls can be seen behind him and a trades-flag above his head). He was talking to the two ruffians pictured with him. They sneered at his words, so Don Bosco said to them, "Do you not want to see the truth? What if you at once would not be able to see at all?" The blond boy laughed and suddenly became blind. This astonished the onlookers. The other boy, frightened, stares at the saint, while the woman in the foreground, representing the onlookers, begs Don Bosco to restore the boy's sight. He does so, but as a consequence the boy realized the seriousness of his words. It would be easy to presume that the boys joined Don Bosco's Oratory and took life a bit more seriously from that time on.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Saint Elizabeth 1207 — 1231, daughter of King Andrew of Hungary, was born in Presburg. At the age of thirteen she married Louis, the ruler of Thuringia. Elizabeth was a beautiful bride who dearly loved her husband. Louis returned his affection with all his heart. Their marriage, though short, lasting only six years, was a happy one. They were blessed with three children and by all accounts their marriage and family were exemplary.
Saint Elizabeth was known for her generosity to the poor and sick. She built a hospital at the foot of the mountain on which her castle sat and looked over the sick herself, spending countless hours comforting the ill and feeding the hungry.
Elizabeth’s generosity was not favored by all. Prince Louis’ family was of the mind that Elizabeth was squandering the family fortune on the poor. Once when she was secretly taking food to the poor and sick, Prince Louis stopped her and looked under her cloak. Much to Elizabeth’s delight and Louis’ surprise the food she was carrying miraculously changed to roses.
Their marriage ended when Louis died of the plague. At that point she renounced the world and became a third-order Franciscan and devoted herself to the care of the sick until her death a few day before her twenty-fourth birthday.
“Elizabeth understood well the lesson Jesus taught when he washed his disciples' feet at the Last Supper: The Christian must be one who serves the humblest needs of others, even if one serves from an exalted position. Of royal blood, Elizabeth could have lorded it over her subjects. Yet she served them with such a loving heart that her brief life won for her a special place in the hearts of many.
Elizabeth, Louis and their children are depicted in our stained glass window. In the background Wartburg Castle is depicted. It was here that she lived and built the hospital where she served the poor and ill. Notice the flowers on her dress; a reminder of the miracle of the roses.
Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.
Saint Francis Xavier
Saint Francis Xavier lived from 1506 – 1552. He is known as the Apostle of the Indies. A native of Spain, he attended university in Paris and there met Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Francis became one of Ignatius' first followers. In 1540 he was commissioned to go as a missionary to the East. He made stops in his journey all along the African Coast and in India preaching and baptizing converts to Catholicism. In Malay he met a Japanese whom he instructed and baptized; at this time he became determined to go to Japan. He arrived in 1549 and stayed for more than two years.
In this window, Francis is shown baptizing a Japanese prince. The details of the window are atmospheric. Francis has the austere, penitential look that was characteristic of him. He is associated with the Sacrament of Baptism because as a missionary he obeyed exactly the injunction of Christ, "Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
Saint John Marie Vianney
With that, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit; when you forgive sins, they are forgiven, when you hold them bound, the they are held bound." John 20:23
Saint John Vianney, know as the Cure of Ars, France, was one of the outstanding confessors among the saints. He lived from 1786 to 1859. He was a saint God raised up to counteract the apparent ruin of religion resulting from the French Revolution. A saint of the parochial clergy, he was known as well for his great common sense and his sense of humor, as for his evident sanctity and supernatural gifts. He was dull and unlearned as a seminarian, suffering from lapses of memory which made studying an overwhelming task. His holiness, however, sufficed in his superior's minds to warrant his ordination.
As a confessor, he spent the greater part of his day and night in the confessional, and people waited hours to confess to him and receive his advice and admonitions.
In our window the Cure's influence is particularly show in in the departure of the devil and in the devout posture of the penitent. The remission of sin is signified by the priest's uplifted hand.
The departing devil all aflame, is particularly dynamic in contrast to the static figures of the Cure and the penitent.
Saint Pope Pius X
Born Giuseppe Sarto in a village near Venice, Italy, Pope Pius X, succeeded Pope Leo XIII as Supreme Pontiff. He introduced greater simplicity into the ceremonies of the Vatican, worked for reform in ecclesiastical legislation and better religious education for the laity and codified Canon Law. He is best remembered by the Church, however, for his decree of December 1906 permitting children to receive Holy Communion as soon as they were able to distinguish the Blessed Sacrament from ordinary bread.
He is thus pictured dressed in Mass vestment administering Holy Communion to three children. He is said to have remarked that Holy Communion is the shortest way to heaven and that the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, should echo Christ's words, "Let the little children come to me and forbid them not." Holy Communion for children had been common from the early days of the church until the ninth century when the minimum age was raised to the early teens. Pope Pius X, then, reintroduced the "children's Communion" and the joy of the event is marked in the window by the garland of flowers in the background.
Beholding the Sacred
Exploring the Sacred
Saint James the Greater
Saint James the Greater is portrayed here administering the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, or the Anointing of the Sick. It is unknown why the artist chose to depict Saint James the Greater rather than the younger James whose epistle is quoted. All the Apostles, of course, administered the same Sacraments, and so any could be portrayed here. It was James the Less, however, whom the Council of Trent called the promulgator of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
In his Epistle, Chapter 5:14-15 we find the scriptural text most often referred to as proof of the biblical basis for this sacrament:
In this window the elder St. James is shown ministering to a dying woman while her daughter weeps beside her bed. The tree showing through the window could signify life the fruit of newness, the doves peace, for all these are results of the sacred anointing.