visitors and even long-time members of St. Joseph the Worker Parish comment on
the beauty of the stained glass windows in the sanctuary and worship area of
the church. However, few are aware of
the meaning and symbolism of the objects and scenes depicted.
In early 1992, shortly after dedication of
the new church, Pastor Fr. John Brath contracted with stained-glass artist Sue
Klayman to design, assemble and install five windows covering the life of St.
Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus.
In Klayman’s design, each window is
divided into six various sized sections that include a scene depicting a
different period in St. Joseph’s life, a word describing his character, and
various spiritual symbols associated with St. Joseph and the Catholic faith.
Repeated in each window is the symbol, or
logo, of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church:
a cross with a mallet and axe.
This same symbol is engraved on the end of each pew in the church.
In the upper corner of each window is the
Star of Bethlehem. Also, on the side of
each window is a vertical section that contains the PX, or ChiRo, the first two
letters of the Greek word for Christ.
Under that are the letters A and O, for the Greek letters Alpha and
Omega, representing Christ as the beginning and the end – plus, a fish for
Jesus, the Fisherman. Doves are depicted
in each window symbolizing Peace on Earth.
In the first window, St. Joseph is
standing alone as a carpenter and the description of him is JUST. Above him is the symbol traditionally given to
him by the Catholic Church of a gold-handled carpenter’s square with a silver
blade and a Lily of the Madonna on a blue field.
In the second window, St. Joseph is
standing in front of a doorway with the Virgin Mary and the description here is
UNSELFISH. The triangle interwoven with
a circle is to remind us of the Holy Trinity.
The third window portrays St. Joseph
holding the baby Jesus while the Virgin Mary is resting. Here he is described as FAITHFUL. In the upper section is a flower, the Mystic
Rose, an ancient symbol dating back to medieval times, representing the Virgin
In the fourth window, St. Joseph is
described as CARING, and he is holding Jesus on his worktable. Again, the upper section symbol represents
the Holy Trinity.
St. Joseph has grown older through each
window; in the fifth window, he is teaching Jesus the carpenter’s trade and is
described as WORKER. The upper section
contains a cross draped with a purple ribbon standing inside a crown of
jewels. This is a traditional symbol
used to represent the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ
as He reconciled the world.
(Photos coming soon.)
the colors used in the windows have specific meanings:
PURPLE ....................God the Father, Royalty and
BLUE...........The Virgin Mary, Hope and
BLUE..............The Sky, Love, Peace, and Infinity
GRAY..........................An Emblem of Christ risen
GOLD.........................Power, Glory, the Gate of Heaven
GREEN..................... Birth, Peace, Life over
Death, Faith and Hope