Thursday, August 15, 2013

6 faces of Mary

The 6 images of Mary in the Cathedral windows
We are so blessed with our beautiful stained-glass windows crafted over the past 90 years in our St Francis De Sales Cathedral. The sanctuary especially seems to be embraced by the images of the Blessed Mother, as I have mentioned frequently on the feasts of Mary. On August 15, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption and we honor her that day with 2 special Masses on that holy day of obligation.
The windows in the main body of the church were crafted by the Povey Brothers of Portland in 1923. The other two closer to the altar, of the Coronation and Pentecost were crafted by the Rambusch Company of New York in 1958. Each image of Mary is different and yet the same. The maternal aspect of each image portrays the affection, the anticipation, the sorrow, the joy and the glory of Mary’s journey. The images here portrayed are in a chronological sequence.
The first one shows the Annunciation, as the Angel Gabriel brings her glad tidings, revealing that she was chosen by God to be the mother of our Savior. There is a hesitant look on her face as she pondered the message of the Angel, realizing that she was not married and yet was to become pregnant as soon as she utters her historic YES.
The second image is at the Presentation of Jesus at the temple, showing a look of anticipation and eagerness, moving forward with two turtle doves, accompanied by St Joseph behind her. The offering of doves was a requirement of the poor parents, while wealthy parents were to present two sheep. Mary is also seen holding a candle, to remind us that the feast is known as Candlemas day, and happened 40 days after the birth of Jesus, at which time, the mother was to be purified by the High Priest. At the birth of a baby, any mother would be considered impure for 40 days, and could not attend the temple for the duration.
The third image is of the Sorrowful Mother under the cross, even with a tear trickling down her cheeks, accompanied by another Mary. Yet another Mary, of Magdala is kneeling down clasping the foot of the cross in this impressive depiction of the Crucifixion.
The fourth image is seen at Pentecost, the historic day on which the church was officially born, and we see Mary here encouraging the apostles as the Holy Spirit descends on each of them in the form of a tongue of fire.

The Assumption stained-glass, crafted 90 years ago.
The fifth image is that of Mary being assumed into Heaven, as she looks heavenward with arms open being welcomed into heaven, while the apostles underneath appear surprised seeing Mary leaving them, as they surround the empty tomb. Impressive rays surround her glorified image.
The last image is that of Mary being crowned as Queen of Heaven. While sitting on a throne, two angels are placing a crown on her head, as she is surrounded by God the Father and God the Son, while other angels rejoice around her. The complexion of Mary’s face is a very peaceful one, reminiscent of the joy she experienced being joined once again with her Son Jesus.
Incidentally the Pentecost and Coronation windows cost $8,200 in 1958, while the other large ones from 1923 cost $1000 each, while the smaller windows cost $500 each. I hope you can all use these images of Mary as a constant meditation of her role and intervention in our lives, especially as you attend Mass weekly in our beautiful Cathedral.

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