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Welcome to St. Martin's...
 

 

This guide seeks to explain to both parishioner and visitor alike the spiritual value and significance of the stained glass windows of St. Martin of Tours Church.  Even to life-long Catholics certain events depicted may be unfamiliar, and the typology and symbolism contained in some of the windows may be indecipherable.  But, if you know the pictorial language they are using, these windows can truly “speak” to your soul, and deliver “homilies in glass”.
Each window is described individually, but under a heading with the window on the opposite side of church from it.  As will be seen, this is because the images in these cross-pairings have a great deal in common in their spiritual message.

This guide uses the numbering system assigned to the windows in the diagram of the church which appeared in the book The Renaissance of the Church of St. Martin of Tours, by Deborah Yetter.  In that scheme the windows at the altar are numbered 1L (viewer’s left), 1C (central), and 1R (viewer’s right).  The remaining windows are then numbered according to which side of the church they are on and their distance from the altar.  For example, 2N is the next closest window to the altar on the north side of the church, and 2S is in the same position on the south side.  The four windows in the two chapels at the rear of the church were numbered 10N, 10S, 11R, and 11L in Ms. Yetter’s book, but in this guide they are labeled A, B, C, and D, respectively.  These windows will be described first, followed by those nearest the back of the church (7N and 7S), and so on up the aisle, ending with the three altar windows.  There is one exception to this order: window pairs 5 and 4 will be described in opposite order, to keep these four related scenes in the chronological order of their occurrence according to the Gospels.

Although St. Martin’s stained glass windows have great artistic value and merit, this booklet is intended to be more than a museum guide to an art show.  Its purpose, like that of the windows themselves, is spiritual.  For this reason, each window description is accompanied by one or more short hymns or prayers which allow for a deeper reflection on the scene depicted.  {Note: the text of each hymn is, as best as could be determined, in the public domain.}
Catholics are familiar with the Stations of the Cross devotion.  This guide may be used in a similar manner, except that the sequence of these “stations” does not necessarily matter, nor does completing this “devotion” uninterrupted.  If time does not allow you to read and reflect on all of the windows in one visit, feel free to come back again and start where you left off.  This church is open 24 hours a day, and copies of this guide should be available near the security desk.

 {The windows, of course, will only be viewable in daylight hours, and their brilliance will be affected by weather and cloud conditions.}

If viewing and reading about these windows leaves you thirsting to learn more about Catholic beliefs and practices, or to participate in the sacramental life of this parish, the last page of this guide contains information about how to contact those responsible for the various ministries here at St. Martin of Tours Church.

 

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