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Bulletin Inserts


Stained Glass

For many people, stained glass windows make church buildings distinct. Their shape, size, and imagery set churches apart from other structures, even those that put stained glass to secular use. No Catholic church building is required to have stained glass, but it remains a popular choice for adornment.

Perhaps the greatest effect of stained glass is the way it changes the believer's perception of walls. People stepping inside a church cross a threshold that ushers them into sacred space. They think differently about the world around them, as they place themselves at the portal of heaven. Heavy church walls can make the interior seem completely removed from the world around it. Clear glass windows invite the outside in. Glass can help people appreciate the relationship between the church and the world, as they gather inside a place where they praise the God who created what is outside. Stained glass, however, changes the walls into something else. These windows filter the incoming light and color it. They lift the heads of worshipers to meditate on things outside normal experience. Stained glass windows acknowledge the existence of the world outside, but also the existence of a world that is more difficult to see, a realm of more mysterious light.

Some stained glass windows carry religious images. Others arrange abstract designs. They can assist catechesis, create harmony, and inspire devotion. Many of them carry the names of donors, though this can distract from the religious purpose of the windows for the assembled faithful.

Churches blessed with good stained glass windows struggle to keep them clean and in good repair. Congregations that treasure them honor their heritage and prepare the next generations for the future, just as they do with their greatest treasure, their faith.

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