Stained glass at Rochester-area church will tell faith’s story - Catholic Courier
Mary is depicted in a colorful stained-glass window. The Annunciation is depicted in one of the new stained-glass windows at St. Joseph Church in Penfield. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

The Annunciation is depicted in one of the new stained-glass windows at St. Joseph Church in Penfield. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Stained glass at Rochester-area church will tell faith’s story

PENFIELD — A sacred-art project underway at St. Joseph Church not only aims to beautify the church’s interior but also to serve as a faith-formation opportunity for parishioners of all ages.

As part of a parish-funded maintenance project, the church, located at 43 Gebhardt Road, has replaced 24 windows that were installed when the church was constructed in the 1960s. These windows contained inserts for stained glass that was never added. New, energy-efficient replacement windows that were installed in April also contain inserts for stained glass, which will be added over time as part of a separate, donor-funded project.

First two windows donated honor late parishioner

The first two stained-glass windows depicting the Annunciation were installed the week of May 9 and were funded by parishioner Jim Paduchowski in memory of his wife of 44 years, Carol, who passed away Aug. 8, 2020.

“She always wanted to do something special for the church,” Paduchowski told the Catholic Courier prior to the installation of the Annunciation windows. “I sit on the west side, and the windows will be on the east side. I will be able to see the windows perfectly and remember Carol.”

Stained-glass windows will tell the story of the faith

According to information on St. Joseph’s website, the overall flow of the new stained-glass windows will take the viewer through the seasons of Advent (Annunciation, Visitation and Joseph’s dreams), Christmas (existing Holy Family window with addition of the baptism of Jesus and the Great Commission), Lent (the miracles of Jesus — the Samaritan woman, healing of blind man and the raising of Lazarus), the Triduum (Last Supper and washing of the feet), the Crucifixion (existing window plus Joseph of Arimathea and women coming to the tomb to prepare the body) and the Resurrection (existing window with the addition of the road to Emmaus and Pentecost).

The church’s three existing stained-glass windows will be the anchors for the new stained-glass additions, said Father James Schwartz, pastor. The three exiting stained-glass windows are located over the three seating areas: The Holy Family is over the main entrance, the Crucifixion is over the west entrance to the left of the altar, and the Resurrection with Jesus and Mary Magdalene is over the east entrance to the right of the altar.

“We want our parishioners and visitors to say, ‘Wow!’ when they enter the church,” Father Schwartz remarked. “Our intention is to make the church more beautiful, more inspiring and more sacred. We want the windows to tell the story of the Catholic Church. We want the windows to be able to be used in faith formation to teach children and adults.”

He explained that members of a parish committee working on the design of the stained-glass windows hope people will walk around and look for the mysteries in the windows. For example, he said two Visitation windows that were to be unveiled in June have water at the feet of Elizabeth to represent John the Baptist; Mary has the icon of a fish at her feet to represent Jesus; and the words to the Magnificat are on Mary’s clothes.

Virginia company worked with parish on window designs

Father Schwartz said that the committee members are very happy with the flow of the stained-glass windows’ design and also with Lynchburg Stained Glass of Lynchburg, Va., which won the contract for designing the stained glass. Not only did the company offer to design, fabricate and install the new stained-glass windows, he said, but it also provided a stained-glass artist to work with the parish’s design committee so members could take an active role in the design process.

Father Schwartz noted that there is not a set completion date for the stained-glass window project, as stained glass will be added as donations become available.

Tags: Art, Churches, Faith Formation, Monroe County East
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