(Mt 28:19; CCC 1324*)
(*Note: CCC = Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
The Rose Window At The East
The Sign of Unity. As we leave the building after a church service, it is the window at the east that talks to us.
The circle – a single line with no beginning, no end – is a universal sign of unity,
Within the circle that frames the window, we see the symbol of the Creator, of
the Word, of the Spirit: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity in whose name we
were baptized and have just received the blessing.
Symbols of the Holy Trinity. — a. The Hand symbolizes the Creator, who made the heavens and the earth, who
made us, protects us and saves us. Many are the Bible references to the “mighty
hand and extended arm” by which the Lord rescued His people.
–b. The Dove is also mentioned in Holy Scripture. Matthew writes of “the Spirit
of God descending like a dove” at the baptism of Christ. Mark says: “he saw the
heavens torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.” In Luke,
we read: “When Jesus too had been baptized and was praying, heaven opened
and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.”
–c. The Monogram of Christ comes to us from early Christian days when Greek
was the universal language (as English is today). It is in Greek texts that the
Gospels, Acts, Epistles and the Apocalyptic Book of Revelation have come down
to us.The Monogram of Christ combines the Greek letters iota and chi. Iota(I) is the
initial of the name Iesous (Jesus) and Chi (X) is the first letter of the title Christos (Christ, the Anointed Messiah). Placed one over the other the two
letters: I and X form a star. In a conceptual perspective, the star suggests a
three-dimensional cross, as if I were facing east looking for Christ to dwell in
my heart and looking “to grasp fully, with all the holy ones,…..
— the breadth… (north and south: way beyond reach of my arms stretched out wide)
—and length… (east and west: untold distances ahead of me and faraway behind me)
—and height… (far, far, far above me)
—and depth… (down fathomless reaches below me) of Christ’s love… and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge.”
The Persons of the Trinity are One, their oneness marked by the circular form of
the rose window itself.
Light and Life. When the morning sun streams through the chunks of colored glass assembled in the east window, they sing like jeweled rainbows of peace. After the liturgical celebration, as we walk out of the door, the sound of the hymn still rings in our ears, while rainbow colors dance in our eyes.Stepping into the sunlight, we can almost hear Jesus say, “I am the light of the world”. And also, “You are the light of the world… Your light must shine before people that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father”.Both stained glass windows are executed by the Rudolph Rohn Studios of Pittsburgh, PA from designs by Ade Bethune. In the technique called faceted glass, slabs of glass, about an inch thick, are chipped in an irregular fashion in order to sparkle as diamonds and precious stones. The jewel colored individual slabs are embedded in a solid panel cast from epoxy resin and coated with a sand aggregate.
Each round window is 8-ft in diameter and contains nine panels, assembled between dark aluminum mullions. The colors change constantly as they reflect the changing sky. Morning or evening, on a rainy day, or in bright sunshine, they sing different songs, reminding us that Christ is our light and our life.