The history of the parish and the recent history of the Church are reflected in the stained glass windows of St. Alphonsus Church.
The information here offers an interesting comparison of the stained glass windows on the “old side” of the church (built in 1889) and the “new side” (1968). The “new side” windows show images that reflect the 20th century of the Church: Christ the King, instituted as a feast day in 1925; Our Lady of Olives, whose outdoor shrine at our church was established by Father Ferdinand Angel in 1937; and St. Therese, the Little Flower, who was canonized in 1924.
Father Peter Murphy
The 21 windows discussed can be found in the church using the following key:
Presented by Miss Mary Cole
To illustrate what He has in mind, Jesus tells us about the hired helper who watches the sheep – that is, until there is danger. When the wolf comes, the hired help leaves. The sheep do not mean that much to him, and so in the face of danger he leaves the sheep to themselves. Jesus is not like that. He is the good shepherd, for He is prepared to die in order for the sheep to be saved. Jesus tells His disciples, “I am the good shepherd. As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me. And I am willing to die for them.” (John 10:14-15)
Presented by Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Cole
The look of love in the eyes of Jesus in this window adds to the meaning of those windows surrounding Him. Mixed in amongst windows of those who served Him, it is as if He wishes no greater honor bestowed upon Him, than the honor given to those who follow Him. Yet, looking down on each one of us is the face of Christ condemned with the crown of thorns on His head. Surely not a crown befitting a king — The King. But it is a crown that serves to remind each and every one of us that He gave His life so that we could enjoy everlasting life with Him in Heaven. So as we look at this window we are called to remember that “faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
In Memory of Mrs. Catherine Papencordt
St. Catherine is believed to have been born in Alexandria of a noble family. Converted to Christianity through a vision, she denounced Roman Emperor Maxentius for persecuting Christians. Fifty of her converts were then burned to death by Maxentius, who offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would deny the faith. Her refusal landed her in prison. While Maxentius was away, Catherine converted Maxentius’ wife and 200 of his soldiers. He had them all put to death. Catherine was likewise condemned to death. She was put on a spiked wheel and when the wheel broke, she was beheaded. She is venerated as the patroness of philosophers and preachers. St. Catherine’s was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc
Presented by Mrs. James Pegher
St. Joseph was the foster father of Jesus. He is also known as Joseph the Betrothed and Joseph the Worker. During his lifetime he was visited more than once by angels. Joseph was a descendant of the line of David. It is also believed he died in the arms of his beloved wife and in the presence of Jesus. His name means the one whom the Lord adds, or God will increase. He is the patron of workers, dying people, craftsmen, expectant mothers, a happy death, and much more. There are things that represent him such as the Bible, cross, and carpenter tools. See also window N3.
Presented by CMBA Branch 210
St. Peter, a fisherman, was one of the original disciples of Jesus. He was called by Jesus to be a disciple. Jesus assigned Peter the leadership role above all the disciples, and Peter became the first pope. Although his date of death is uncertain, scholars believe he died on October 13, 64 A.D. He was crucified upside down and his burial place is now underneath the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. He holds keys representing the keys to Heaven. See also window N4.
Presented by Mrs. Amalia Cole
John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus Christ. He was the son of Elizabeth and Zachary. John began his ministry around age 27, wearing a leather belt and a tunic of camel hair, living off locusts and wild honey, and preaching a message of repentance. He converted many, and prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. He baptized Christ, after which he stepped away and told his disciples to follow Jesus. He was beheaded about 30 A.D. and buried at Sebaste, Samaria. His feast days are June 24 (his birth) and August 29 (his death). John appears as the boundary between the two Testaments, the Old and the New. That he is a sort of boundary the Lord bears witness, when He speaks of “the law and the prophets up until John the Baptist.” Thus he represents times past and is the herald of the new era to come.
Presented by Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Winterberger
The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is celebrated on September 15. Mary was given the name Our Lady of Sorrows by St. John the Evangelist when she stood at the foot of her son dying on the cross. There at Calvary, Mary suffered, hence the name Our Lady of Sorrows or Mary Mother of Sorrows. The feast day first began in 1221, at a monastery in Schonau. It was made a universal feast day in 1814, by Pope Pius VII. Artwork honoring our Lady of Sorrows is also located on the back wall of the new side of the church.
Presented by Miss Anna Papencordt
While St. Dominic was praying in the chapel, Our Lady of the Rosary appeared to him. She taught him the rosary prayer. She told him to preach it to the rest of the world as a remedy against heresy and sin. Our Lady of the Rosary also appeared to children. On October 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima told the children, “I am the Lady of the Rosary. I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and to ask pardon for their sins…. People must say the rosary. Let them continue to say it every day.” The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7.
Presented by John S. Pegher
John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of James the Greater. St. John the Evangelist is also known as Apostle of Charity, and John the Divine. John was called by Jesus during His first year of ministry and traveled everywhere with Him, becoming so close as to be known as the beloved disciple. He was the only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion, standing at the foot of the cross. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb. He is the patron saint of writers and booksellers, of fellowship and brotherly love. His memorial is December 27. See also window A3.
Presented by LCBA Branch 1275
St. Paul (Saul) spent the early part of his life persecuting Christians. He became a believer in Jesus after a blinding vision left him open to the power of the Holy Spirit. Often seen as the first real missionary of the Catholic Church, St. Paul traveled from city to city evangelizing the good news of the kingdom of God. He is depicted in this window holding a letter, based upon the many letters he wrote to communicate the good news back to his brothers in faith. One night in a vision the Lord said to Paul, “Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.” (Acts 18:9-10)
Levi was Matthew’s original name. As a tax gatherer at Capernaum, he collected duties for Herod Antipas and, although a Jew, was despised by the Pharisees. When called by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and served Him a feast in his house, where tax gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these consoling words: “I came not to call the just, but sinners.” No further allusion is made to Matthew in the Gospels, except in the list of the apostles. The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew on September 21, and the Greek Church on November 16. St. Matthew’s symbol is a man, representing the human character of Jesus, and Matthew gives the fullest account of the birth of Jesus.
St. Mark’s symbol is a lion (often a winged lion), the king of desert beasts, because his first chapter introduces John the Baptist in the desert wilderness. St. Mark is credited with writing the oldest of the four gospels. His gospel portrays Jesus as a man of action and a man of suffering. St. Mark also was a priest and missionary. Tradition has him preaching in Alexandria, and St. Mark is revered as the founder and first martyr of the Christian Church in Egypt. His feast day is April 25.
St. John was a fisherman before being called by Jesus to be an apostle. His symbol is the eagle, representing the Divine Word, and thoughts soaring above earth, since his gospel begins in Heaven with the eternal Word. His name means God is gracious and gift of God. St. John the Evangelist died about 101 A.D. at Ephesus in modern Turkey. A church was built over his tomb, which was later converted into a mosque. See also window O9.
St. Luke was a doctor, historian and writer. He was Greek and lived in Antioch. St. Luke’s symbol is an ox, the animal of sacrifice, because his gospel begins with Zechariah’s sacrifice in the temple. He wrote the third Gospel and Acts of the Apostles. St. Luke is the patron saint of artists, craftspeople, doctors, and surgeons. His feast day is October 18.
The four altar windows symbolize the evangelists, and taken together represent the mystery of Christ’s life. The human, ox, lion, and eagle recall Jesus’ birth (human), sacrifice (ox), resurrection (lion, according to legend sleeps with its eyes open and hence a symbol of resurrection), and ascension (eagle). The symbols derive from Ezekiel 1:10 and appear again in Revelation 4:7.
Walter Ebbert Jr. Family
In 1925, Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King. The feast shows us that Jesus is royalty above all people, communities and nations. It is celebrated in November on the last Sunday of the Church year. The feast day is celebrated so we can rededicate ourselves to the Truth of God and to honor Jesus as royalty and King. That is why the feast day is called Christ the King: Feast of Catholic Truth. Christ’s Kingdom is for everyone who believes in Him. It is endless and not of this world. God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion over them.
Thomas and Sarah Brassell
The Virgin Mary is the “fair olive” recalled in the scriptures (Sirach 24:14). In the Bible the olive tree is a symbol of heavenly blessings, prosperity, spiritual excellence, as well as fruitfulness of good works. This symbolism applied to Mary is a sign of faithful and loving dedication to the Lord but also a symbol of Mary’s strength, intercessory power and mercy. The medal of Our Lady of Olives originates from a wooden statue of Our Lady that survived the destruction of the Church of Murat (Cantal, France) in a fire caused by lightning. This event occurred in 1493 and is the beginning of the devotion to Our Lady of Olives. The people who carry the medallion of Our Lady of Olives are protected from lightning wherever they may be during a storm. A shrine to Our Lady of Olives is located by the church’s entrance driveway along with a shrine to St. Alphonsus and other saints.
Earl and Rose Shenot Family
After settling in Nazareth with Mary and Jesus, St. Joseph lived the simple and uneventful life of a humble and faithful Jew, supporting himself and his family by his work. The only noteworthy incident recorded by the Gospel during this time is the loss of, and anxious quest for, Jesus, then 12 years old, when He had strayed during the yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Sacred Scripture says little of Joseph and does not record even one word spoken by him. And yet, even without words, Joseph the carpenter shows the depth of his faith and greatness. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19, and the feast of St. Joseph the Worker is celebrated on May 1. See also window O4.
John and Emma Huch
St. Peter was an unlikely candidate to lead the Church, but from the moment Jesus called him as a disciple, the life of Peter the fisherman changed dramatically. He became not only the most prominent of Jesus’ disciples but also the leader and principal spokesman of the infant Catholic Church. Peter is often depicted carrying keys, as he is in this window – possibly seen as the way to Christ, the one to follow, as a portrayal of him carrying the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). See also window O5.
Leo and Emma Staab Family
St. Alphonsus is the patron saint of our church and lawyers. St. Alphonsus was born at Marianella, near Naples, Italy, on September 27, 1696. He received his university doctorate at age 16 and was practicing law by age 19. In 1723 he lost his first case and God took that as an advantage to call him to be a priest. In 1729 he answered God’s call and became a priest. God called him again and St. Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1732. In 1762 he was appointed bishop of St. Agatha near Naples. On August 1, 1787, he died at Nocera di Pagani. His writings have had great impact through the years. He was canonized a saint in 1839 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871.
In Memory of John and Rose Good
This saint is also known as The Little Flower for she entered the convent at the very young age of 15. She was born in 1873 in Alcon, France. By age 11 she realized she had a habit of mental prayer, finding quiet places to think about God, life, and eternity. St. Thérèse coughed up blood in 1896, but kept working without telling anyone. Before she died, she always tried to smile a lot and was so cheerful that some people thought she was not really sick. She died at age 24 in 1897. She had one dream of what would become of her after she died and that was to always follow God. She was canonized in 1924, and is the patron saint of sick people, florists, aircraft workers, and those mourning the loss of parents.
“Our Parents,” Kelly and Connolly
St. Patrick was born around 388 in Scotland as Maewyn Succat. His name means noble and warlike. He died around 463 at Saul, County Down, Ireland. He was kidnapped from the British mainland at 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. While there, he was sent to the mountains as a shepherd, and spent much of his time in prayer. After six years in Ireland, he received a dream telling him to go back to Britain. He managed to escape to Britain where he then studied at continental monasteries. St. Patrick became a priest and then bishop. He was sent by Pope Celestine to evangelize England and then Ireland. In Ireland his chariot driver was St. Odran, and St. Jarlath was one of his students. In 33 years he successfully converted most of Ireland. Because of Patrick, during the Middle Ages, Ireland was known as the land of the saints. He is the patron of snake bites, the fear of snakes, Ireland, engineers, and many others. Objects used to represent him include the snake, shamrock, and harp.