Reminders of God's Love and Presence
The twelve stained-glass windows that surround our worship area show images of Mary throughout the centuries. Learning about the stories that the windows depict can help us appreciate Mary's connection to people as the loving Mother of the God's Family, the Church. Mary reminds us that God is always with us.
Many of these windows show apparitions, times when Mary is believed to have appeared to an individual or a group of people. While the Church does not require belief in any apparition or other private revelation, the apparitions in our church windows have been declared "worthy of belief". Devotions related to these apparitions have developed over the years and have affected many lives. In addition, many people at these sites have experienced miracles which have defied explanation.
As you look at these windows, may these reminders of Mary help you to experience a new awareness of God's continual loving presence in your life.
Window 1: Our Lady of Fatima
When the world was suffering the terrors of World War I, Mary appeared six times to three young children in Fatima, Portugal. In these apparitions Mary told the children to pray for world peace and urged the children to tell people to pray the Rosary. Many people gathered to pray at these times. A miraculous sight in which the sun appeared to be dancing occurred on Oct 13, 1917; this amazing sight was seen by thousands of people. Everyone's clothing had been drenched from heavy rain, yet when the sun settled down again, all clothing was found to be dry.
As we view this window let us remember people who live in war torn areas; let us pray for peace in our world.
Window 2: The Family at Nazareth
This window is a reminder that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus shared life together. It is easy to imagine that this family never experienced life's ups and downs; however, this Family was very real. Like all families, this family had household tasks, family responsibilities, community interactions, as well as physical and emotional challenges as part of their life.
As we look at this picture we can remember that God is with us in our daily lives as we face these everyday experiences. We can also use this window as a reminder to pray for families, especially those who are experiencing difficulties.
Window 3: Mary, Patroness of the United States
This window is a vivid reminder that as a nation we need to remember that Mary is with us. Our country's flag and the image of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC are both clear reminders of Mary's importance to our country. In 1792, John Carroll, the bishop of Baltimore and America's first Roman Catholic bishop, consecrated the newly-created United States to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception. In 1847, Pope Pius IX formalized Carroll's acclamation, proclaiming the Immaculate Conception as the "patroness of the United States."
As we look at this window, let us pray for our country that as a nation we may live with awareness that we are all the children of God's family. Let us work to help make that awareness a reality in our country's laws and rules.
Window 4: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Traditional belief holds that on December 9, 1531 Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an indigent Aztec Indian, near Mexico City. Mary's image appeared on his tilma, a very poor quality cactus-cloth worn by poor people of that area. The native people were considered as the lowest in the society and were terribly oppressed by people in power. Mary's appearance to this poor man to bring her message to people in power showed clearly that God does not classify people as society sometimes does.
This window reminds us of our call to respect all people regardless of society's rankings and to work for the dignity of all people. This window also reminds us of Mary's message of love and compassion, and her universal promise of help and protection for all people.
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