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Stained Glass Windows

The clerestory band at St. Columbkille Church consists of twenty identical oblong openings. A strong horizontal matrix of a green Celtic knot-work unites the windows visually and expresses the idea of the interwoven nature of the many aspects of Catholic spirituality which are expressed by unique center elements in each of the windows. The windows become symbolically a type of rosary; the mysteries of the spiritual life linked together and leading to deeper realities.

In the original design of the church, stained glass windows were to be placed in the windows at the top of the east wall of the sanctuary. Adding these stained glass windows would complete the sacred environment and help parishioners feel like they were in the presence of the sacred when they are in the church rather than in any common secular space. They would also add to the beauty of the church.

The Pastoral Council invited designs from the Willet Hauser Company incorporating themes of the life of St. Columbkille and themes from the core beliefs of Christianity. The windows are being placed on the inside of the church, with the existing external windows providing protection from the elements.

Life of Jesus

Birth of Christ

Birth of Christ

A manger within a humble nativity  stable. Above, the star that led the Magi from the East shines brightly.

Influence of Mary

Influence of Mary

Mary’s heart, flaming and pierced by seven swords represents the seven sorrows predicted by Simeon.

Influence of Joseph

Influence of Joseph

The carpentry tools (a square, hand saw, mallet and chisel) recall the influence of Joseph in Jesus’ life.

Miracles of Loaves and Fish

Jesus’ Active Ministry

His ministry is symbolized by imagery recalling the Miracle of Loaves and Fish, in which Christ miraculously
fed the crowd of five thousand with five barley loaves and two fish.

Washing of the Feet

Active Ministry Continued

Further supporting the theme of active ministry is Jesus washing His disciples’ feet at the Last  Supper.

The Crucifixion

Suffering of Jesus

The instruments of Jesus’ Crucifixion  (the crown of thorns and nails) recall His suffering.

Death of Jesus

Death of Jesus

The three crosses of Good Friday recall His death.

Life of Saint Columbkille

St. Columbkille was a writer of poetry and songs.
St. Columbkille was a writer of poetry and songs. He and his monks spent much of their day making copies of the sacred scriptures and other holy writings by hand prior to the invention of the printing press. St. Columbkille is also noted as being one of the first copyright cases in history, though the case did not go his way after he had copied a favorite psalter to take with him.
 Columb means
In most churches you can presume a dove represents the Holy Spirit, but not here.  Columb means “dove” in Gaelic and kille is “church,” so he came to be known  as the “church’s dove.” So this window is a reference to St. Columbkille, our parish’s patron saint. Here he holds an olive branch in his mouth just like the dove that returned to Noah with the promise of hope.
The windows depicting wheat and grapes are strategically placed directly above the altar.
The windows depicting wheat and grapes are strategically placed directly above the altar. The Eucharist, which they become, is often referred to as the Source and Summit of our faith. Just as the grains of wheat and the grapes are assembled to form bread and wine, we are also assembled to be a community of faith.
The windows depicting wheat and grapes are strategically placed directly above the altar.

Then as these gifts of bread and wine are brought forward to become the Body and Blood of Christ, we offer ourselves to be transformed by God as well.

 

Behold the Lamb of God...

In Mass the priest says “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb” in echo of the words of John the Baptist for Jesus. Here the lamb is poised on a book with the seven seals imagery from the Book of Revelation — “Worthy is the lamb who was slain.”

 

In 563, at the age of 42, Columbkille left Ireland with twelve companions and landed on an island now known as Iona.

In 563, at the age of 42, Columbkille left Ireland with twelve companions and landed on an island now known as Iona. Here he began his work; and, Iona became a center of Christian learning. It became the heart of Celtic Christianity  and a potent factor in the conversion of the Picts, Scots, and Northern English. Monks from the monasteries established by Columbkille would later travel to mainland Europe and Christianize the Frank and Germanic tribes.

Discipleship

These designs represent the last seven of a twenty panel stained glass series to fill the church’s Clerestory band. These seven images focus on the facets of living as a true Disciple of Jesus and recalls our parish mission statement to “Go and Make Disciples.”  These images will be to the south of the first images installed.

Teach the Truth

Teach the Truth

The stone tablets of the Law are depicted. Inscribed upon the tablets is the name of God as represented in the Hebrew where it is written without vowels using the letters Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh (YHVH). Often referred to as the Ineffable Name. the Unutterable Name or the Distinctive Name. Because it was considered blasphemous to utter the name of God it was only written by the Hebrews and never spoken. In the background Mount Sinai has been represented before glowing rays of light recalling Exodus 19:16-25 when the mountain was set aglow by fire and shook with the thunder as Moses conversed with God. The lamp in the foreground represents the “Lamp of Truth.”

Praying Always

Praying Always

The cloud containing the Alpha and Omega suggest the “Cloud of the Unknowing,” a treatise on contemplative prayer written in the late Middle Ages. The work’s primary purpose is to develop a deepening relationship with the mysterious Trinity, God the beginning and the end.

 

 

 

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The descending dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit and the seven flames depict the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts based on Isaiah 11:2-3. They are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

Freeing the prisoner

Freeing the prisoner

This image incorporates multiple aspects of Discipleship including intrapersonal, interpersonal and extrapersonal. The skewed prison door with an open lock could indicate being freed by Christ from our own personal darkness. Or it could be releasing others from theirs. It also challenges us to embrace the Church’s teaching on Social Justice.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

This imagery is based on Rembrandt van Rign’s famous painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son. It reminds us of the challenges and graces involved in forgiving one another.

Feeding the Hungry

Feeding the Hungry

This imagery recalls a soup kitchen and references Matthew 25:31-46 in which Jesus directs us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the stranger, clothe the naked, look after the sick and visit prisoners.

The Local and Universal Church

The Local and Universal Church

The seal of the Archdiocese of Omaha is used to remind us that we at St. Columbkille Parish are part of the larger, Universal Church. Atop the shield is an Archbishop’s miter. The wavy silver fess indicates the Missouri River, the Archdiocese’s Eastern boundary. The black cross recalls that missionaries wearing black cassocks brought the faith to this rich, cultural heartland as indicated by the green shield.