All of the stained glass in our Church (permanent and seasonal) were fabricated by local Riverside, IL stained glass artist David Condon in collaboration with our Art & Environment Teams over the past 22 years. We are fortunate to have many talented parishioners involved in the creative process of designing these windows, and the nationally recognized talents of Colorsmith Studios to realize them in artistic stained glass.
Window with Sanctuary Lamp
The stained glass and metal sculpture window in the interior wall between the Chapel and the Narthex is titled, God’s Spirit with Us. It was designed to hold the sanctuary lamp that reminds us of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was previously placed in the room directly behind this window and was moved into the larger Chapel area a few years ago. The design and color of the window suggests the dynamic presence and movement of the Holy Spirit and the flame of the sanctuary lamp. Beveled glass was chosen to amplify the low light level of this interior location and the candle flame. The Narthex side of the window is overlain with stainless steel shapes that remind us of the burning bush, of holy ground, and the presence of the Lord in the story of Moses recalling God’s covenant with his people – the same covenant that we continue to celebrate in the Eucharist.
This window received a Ministry & Liturgy magazine Visual Arts Award in 1993.
Window near Baptismal Font
This window, titled Baptism, was designed in a free-flowing abstract style which serves as a counterpoint to the geometric angles predominant in the Church architecture. The choice of a softened linear style emphasizes the welcoming, protective, and nurturing elements of the Church, while the vibrancy of this same line work underscores the life-giving aspects of Baptism. The suggested circular forms in the center depict the unity of the faith community of St. Raphael. The circles are not closed, symbolizing openness and outreach to the world. The location of this window, near the doors of the Church (which permit transition from outside to inside, and from inside back into the world) reminds us that the Sacrament of Baptism celebrates both our entry or initiation into the church, and the mandate we are given by virtue of our Baptism, to go back out into the world to share and give witness to the faith we have professed. The circular forms may also suggest a womb and birth. Surrounding the center are shapes which depict an uplifting thrust signifying growth. A striking experience of this window occurs each Easter Vigil when a bonfire is built just outside. The flames of this new fire can be seen flickering through the glass and reflecting off the water of the font during the baptisms that take place this night. Scripture speaks of being baptized with water and with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The Ambry is the traditional place, in a church, which houses the Holy Oils used in the celebration of the sacraments: The Oil of the Sick, the Oil of the Catechumens and the Holy Chrism. Our Ambry door echoes the octagon shape of the baptismal font. The leaded glass continues the expression of the baptismal window next to it. The granite used above and below the Ambry is the same as that used on the Font, the Altar, and the Tabernacle platform, drawing a connection between Baptism and the other Sacraments.
Window in organ loft titled “The Light of Christ”
The west “rose window” is a color abstract design, 12 feet in diameter. A star dominates the center in an explosive, expanding burst of light. A metaphor for God, this light reaches out to everything and to all of us. We approach this light, growing in faith, striving to be fulfilled in God. This growth is represented by the spiraling flow from the baptismal window below in the Narthex. The mundane colors and forms of earth meld with the forms and colors of the heavenly cosmos. The forms surrounding the star resemble folds or layers in a curtain. The light of Christ, our incarnate God, penetrates the veils of human nature that obscure our true understanding and perception of God.
This glorious representation was inspired by the “Exsultet,” a sung prayer that is an integral part of the Easter Vigil. In the “Exsultet,” we celebrate our heritage as the people of God. The “Exsultet” retells the story of salvation and its meaning for us. The prayer describes how we rejoice in the blessed event, when “heaven is wedded to earth and humanity is reconciled to God” through the person of Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Throughout the years, this window helps us to remember who we are as a community of faith. Just as the light is the focus of the window, so should Christ, the Light of the World, be the focus of our lives.
Seasonal windows for Christmas and Easter
We are very blessed to have two seasonal stained glass windows that are put up exclusively for the Christmas season and the 50 days of Easter (Easter Vigil through Pentecost). The Easter glass depicts an abstract resurrec
ted Jesus modeled on the risen Jesus piece from the original Church that currently hangs in the Chapel.
Window in Chapel
As a result of a generous donation to our capital campaign, a new stained glass window was installed in the Chapel for our 50th anniversary celebration. It was designed by parishioner and school art teacher Angela Graefenhain and was executed by David Condon of Colorsmith Studios. Angela has designed a beautiful window that is a blend of abstract design in keeping with the other windows to represent the dynamic, creative presence of God in everything. Notice the reference this window design makes to: cross / tree of life, spirit / dove, host / adoration, sun / light, color / diversity, living water / dynamic movement of the Spirit.