Thursday, May 23, 2024

Heavenly Light: Stained-Glass Windows Add to Splendor of St. Jude Church

A parishioner-funded project at St. Jude Thaddeus in Mifflintown has given the gift of additional splendor to the Juniata County church.
Earlier this year, the installation of stained-glass windows replaced the plate glass windows original to the church, built in 2008 to accommodate a growing congregation.
And the result has been a transformative experience.
Parishioner Joseph Zarnowksi, who headed-up the project, said the windows add a beauty to St. Jude’s, the only Catholic Church in the county.
“The clear windows that were previously in the church were a bit of a distraction from Mass, because the church is on a highway. You could always see cars going by, and things happening outside,” he said.
Zarnowski considered what the church would look like with stained-glass windows instead. With permission from the pastor, Father William Weary, he reached out to parishioners for their opinion, and found overwhelming financial support for the project.
“Over the course of one or two weekends, enough people contributed to purchase the windows,” he said. “Our people always come through. They are amazing.”
The windows were created by an artist in Virginia, and installed four months ago.
There are ten windows of various sizes – some with liturgical imagery, others with Scripture verses. A plaque with the names of benefactors is located in the narthex.
A member of St. Michael’s Guard, an ecclesial movement of men who serve as altar servers, Zarnowski usually attends several Mass each week. “I truly appreciate the beauty of the windows,” he said.
So does Father Weary.
“These new windows are a beautiful enhancement to both the beauty of the church and the legacy of our parish history,” he said of St. Jude’s, founded in 1959. “I have noticed a very sweet, almost mystical quality to the colors filtering into the worship space on even lightly sunlit days. On bright days, a kind of radiance spreads everywhere, lending to a worshipful atmosphere.”
“This is a new phase in the history of our country parish, from its founding as a mission chapel during the 1950s to a full-fledged parish now, with the new church built only in 2008,” he said. “From the beginning, parishioners have been hands-on with improving and developing the parish property, and this project has been no exception.”
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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