St. Stephen's Rose Window
St. Stephen's Rose Window
Our beautiful Rose Window was dedicated on December 13, 1959. Many different figures and symbols are portrayed in the twelve panels.
Starting at the upper right (one o'clock position) and going clockwise:
A Triangle - which represents the Holy Trinity, Three Persons in One God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
St. Lawrence - like St. Stephen, St. Lawrence was a deacon and a martyr. He worked for the poor and prayed for the conversion of Rome. In 258 he was martyred by roasting on a grid iron and tradition says he was buried at the same place as Stephen.
A Torch - which is a symbol of zeal for the Word of God, of enlightenment, and of fervor.
A Chalice - the cup-shaped vessel used at Mass in which the wine is consecrated. It serves as a symbol of worship or faith or especially the Eucharist. Another association is the cup of suffering of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
St. Nicholas - born in Lycia, Asia Minor, he eventually became the bishop there in the fourth century. He is distinguished for his austerity, childlike innocence, charity, being especially concerned for the welfare of the young. Nicholas also took strong measures against paganism and was persecuted for his stand against heresy. He is pictured with three loaves of bread and is known as the patron of bakers. He is also venerated as the patron of children and the foundation of our Santa Claus.
The Crown of Thorns and Blunt Roman Spikes - Instruments of the passion and death of Jesus: the soldiers made a crown of thorny branches, put it on his head, and mocked Him as being the King of the Jews. The spikes/nails secured Jesus by His hands and feet to the cross.
Ladder, Sponge, INRI - The ladder refers to taking Jesus down from the Cross. The sponge was soaked in cheap wine, put on a branch, and held up to the lips of Jesus as He hung on the Cross. It is composed of the first letters of the Latin words meaning Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."
St. Augustine - born in 354 in Africa. In spite of the piety of his mother, St. Monica, as a youth he was a great sinner as described in his autobiography - "The Confessions." At age 33, he finally converted and received Baptism. At age 41, he became Bishop of Hippo. From then till his death in 430 he wrote voluminous works that have been the admiration of the ages and earned him the title of one of the greatest Doctors of the Western Church. Both he and St. Nicholas are associated in paintings with St. Stephen. A common symbol in art for St. Augustine is a flaming heart pierced with arrows.
Purse - refers to the bag containing the thirty pieces of silver that was given to Judas for handing over Jesus. It is known as a symbol of betrayal.
Hands of God Holding a Crown - refers to the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Likewise Jesus' crown of thorns merited him the crown as Christ our King.
St. Stephen ( go to history of our church)
Crucifix and Roses - A cross or crucifix is a symbol for Christ, Christianity, Redemption, Atonement. It is the building block of our faith. A rose is a sign of love, and a red rose is a sign of martyrdom. In this instance it portrays the scriptural quote - "Greater love than this no one has than to lay down one's life for one's friends" John 15:13 - Martyrdom for the beloved. Note also that the color red predominates throughout the window as well as the design of palm branches. Both refer to love, sacrifice, martyrdom of our patron, St. Stephen, and to the challenging times of church history in opposing paganism and heresy and the periods of persecution the Church underwent. Hopefully it will inspire us to the true meaning of being a parish family and a faith community.