St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish will dedicate a new stained glass window at 10 a.m. Dec. 15 as a memorial to Tomasz Kaczowka, a parishioner and firefighter who was shot and killed while on duty on Christmas Eve in 2012.
Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark will celebrate the Mass, and he will be assisted by Father Roman Caly, St. Stanislaus pastor, and other priests. It will be unveiled and blessed during the Mass at the church, which is located at 1124 Hudson Ave., Rochester. Tribute also will be paid to Kaczowka’s colleagues in the West Webster Fire Department.
Kaczowka, 19, and Lt. Mike Chiapperini were killed and two other firefighters were wounded while they were responding to a house fire Dec. 24, 2012, in Webster.
The new window depicts St. Florian, who is honored around the world as the patron of firefighters. He also is regarded as a patron saint of Poland because some of his relics are housed in the Church of St. Florian in Krakow.
According to a biography of the saint, he was a Roman officer who was stationed in fourth-century Austria. Among his duties, he was responsible for organizing fire brigades. He was martyred for his Christian faith; his body was set on fire and thrown into the river. Firefighters often invoke his intercession and the cross in the emblem of many fire departments is known as St. Florian’s cross.
In the new window, St. Florian is shown as a Roman soldier holding a banner with his cross. He looks down on a raging fire and his hand quells the flames. The window also depicts a young man in firefighter’s gear — with features reminiscent of Kaczowka — pours water on the flames. Also visible in the window’s artwork is the helmet Kaczowka wore with the West Webster Fire Department and universal symbols of fire rescue and emergency response.
The window was created by Valerie O’Hara of Pike Stained Glass Studios. It was commissioned by the St. Stanislaus Parish Council and was funded with donations from parishioners, family and friends.