DESCRIPTIONS BY POSITIONS/ PLACEMENT AT ST. JOHN'S CHURCH
In viewing these windows, it is necessary to keep in mind that the primary attempt was to portray ideas rather objects. What St. John did is far more important than his appearance. Since a symbol avoids the finality which a naturalistic representation frequently does, these were used in portraying the ideas. Each symbol has the advantage of opening a train of thought or presenting an idea which then expands the mind of the beholder. Windows of this nature demand actual participation by the viewer in the work of the maker, rather than mere passivity on an emotional level.
The glass throughout is that generally termed antique glass. It is a blown glass and every piece changes from every other, even throughout its own area, in tone and texture.
The accompanying floor plan gives the location of the various windows and the numerals referred to herein may be found in this plan.
The six tall windows in the nave are representative of the six sacraments, the seventh being adequately represented by the altar itself. Each of the Sacraments is divided into the Institution or Source, the external sign and the inward graces received.
ORIGIN OF THE WINDOWS’ ART FORM
Emil Frei, Sr. was a graduate of the School of Arts and Crafts in Munich, Germany, and was employed by the Franz Mayer Studio of Munich, where he learned the art of stained glass. In the 1890’s he moved to the United States and, after working for awhile with a San Francisco firm, established his own studio in the early 1900’s.
Early Frei windows were designed in the German Baroque, or “Munich” style. That is, they consisted of traditional scenes painted in the trace and matte technique on antique glass. (“Antique” refers to the antique style of glass making, not the age of the glass itself.) The scenic area of a Munich window is surrounded by white and gold columns and canopies in an architectural design.
This “Munich” style was very popular with the ethnic congregations of Catholic churches in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, as it was a style that could be found in many of the churches that they had left in Europe.
Although the style of the windows of Emil, Sr. were generally very traditional, later in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, under Emil, Sr., the Frei Studios were best known for its very contemporary and modern designed windows.
The Frei windows of St. John the Evangelist are exceptionally fine examples of the “Munich” style as interpreted by Mr. Emil Frei, Sr. They have a historic value as being representative works by one of the better-known names of American stained glass of the early 20th century. Because of the artistry and detail in the design they would be very expensive to duplicate today.
WINDOW 4. BAPTISM
This window was erected by Mr. and Mrs. John Gaberino in loving memory of their parents.
The Institution of the Sacrament of Baptism is taken from Christ’s commission to His disciples from the text, “GO THEREFORE AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.” The source then is in the upper part of the window by means of the text just given and the Trinity represented by the Hand, the Dove and the Chi Rho.
The external sign is the water flowing from the shell. This life-giving stream of water falls upon the thistle at the very base of the window which is transformed from a symbol of sin to one of virtue, that is, the lily. This idea is further stressed by the text EVA because it was by the sin of our first parents that sin entered the world, and it was Mary, represented by the lily, and the salutation AVE, who was conceived without sin.
The inward grace is suggested by the three Doves ascending upward towards union with God represented by the Trinity.
WINDOW 3. CONFIRMATION
This window was erected by Miss Minnie Cambron in loving memory of her parents.
The Institution here is taken from the time of the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the twelve Apostles. This is clearly shown by the Dove at the extreme top and the twelve tongues of flame immediately below.
The visible sign is by means of the Bishop’s staff, his hand, and the words, “I CONFIRM THEE.”
The inward graces received in this sacrament are indicated by the large Chi Rho surrounded by smaller Chi Rhos, because from this Sacrament is derived the strength to overcome evil symbolized by the thoroughly vicious-looking snake in the grass at the base of the window. The thought of the large Chi Rho surrounded by smaller ones indicates also that those who are confirmed become other Christs in union with Christ.
WINDOW 2. RECONCILIATION (PENANCE)
This window was erected by Herman C. Hager in loving memory of Mr. and Mrs. John Hager, Sr.
The Institution is taken from the words of Christ, “WHOSE SINS YOU SHALL FORGIVE THEY ARE FORGIVEN THEM.” At the very top of the window appear three symbols, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is then the Father, together with His Son, who sends the Holy Spirit to forgive the sins of the repentant. The shepherd’s crook, together with the sheep, represents the Pastor, the priest who has been given this power. To the right of the shepherd’s cook are twelve knots.
The external sign would be contrition, confession, and satisfaction. These are in turn symbolized by the drooping flower, the key and scourge. The shepherd’s staff suggests the priest’s power to forgive sin and touches the black sheep at the very base of the window, transforming him, as it were, into white sheep who are show rising upwards; indicating the words of Christ to the Twelve Disciples, “WHATSOEVER YOU SHALL BIND ON EARTH SHALL BE BOUND IN HEAVEN, AND WHATSOEVER YOU SHALL LOOSE ON EARTH SHALL BE LOOSED IN HEAVEN.”
WINDOW 11. ANOINTING OF THE SICK (EXTREME UNCTION)
There is no clear source of the Institution of this Sacrament. It is here built around the text, “AND THE PRAYERS OF FAITH WILL SAVE THE SICK PERSON AND THE LORD WILL RAISE HIM UP; IF HE BE IN SIN, IT SHALL BE FORGIVEN HIM.”
The external sign is the anointing of the five senses. Here are shown a hand, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, each with a cross superimposed suggesting the anointing. At the very base of the window flames indicative of eternal punishment, together with a thistle suggesting sin, are shown. Through the Sacrament of Anointing (also called Extreme Unction), the soul, symbolized by the Dove, is liberated and soars to Heaven.
WINDOW 10. HOLY ORDERS
The Institution is taken from the event at the Last Supper. Christ breaking the bread is indicated by the broken host, while Christ Himself is symbolized by the Chi Rho. The words are those of Christ, “DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.”
The external sign is the Bishop’s hand at the time of Ordination, and the hand receiving the chalice indicates the Bishop’s words to the newly ordained priest, “TO OFFER AND TO PREACH.” The stole symbolizes preaching and the chalice the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
The inward grace of the Sacrament is the power to sow the seeds of Christianity and the satisfaction of seeing it fully grown. This is indicated by the stalks of wheat.
Recognition is also given at the base of the window to Holy Orders as also received by ordained Religious as well as the collaboration of professed, but not ordained Religious in the Institutes of Consecrated Life. It is their function then to WORK AND TO PRAY.
WINDOW 9. MATRIMONY
Matrimony as originated in the Garden of Eden did not have the benefits of the sacramental status. This is indicated by the sorrowful episode of the forbidden fruit. That it then was lacking perfection is indicated by the jagged lines surrounding the tree. With the words, “WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER,” it took on its sacramental character. The external sign is symbolized by the joined rings. Its purpose is the procreation and rearing of children, symbolized by two full grown lilies bringing forth the bud. At the bottom are husband and wife, shown as one together, holding a palm branch, symbolizing heavenly peace. Above their heads are two crowns, indicating their spiritual reward.
SIX SHORT NAVE WINDOWS
The four nearest the Sanctuary show episodes from the life of St. John, the Evangelist.
WINDOW 6. TRANSFIGURATION
This window was erected by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gough in loving memory of Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Satti.
At the bottom is John, while Elijah is represented by the book, and Moses by the Tablets of the Law. Above them is the Chi Rho, representing Christ.
WINDOW 5. ST. JOHN AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS
This window was erected by Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Waters in loving memory of Weyburn and Jean Ann.
The Apostle John is shown kneeling in front of the cross, in the center of which is the head of the Crucified Savior. To either side are the spear and the sponge, and at the extreme top of the cross the letters INRI, a contraction of Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Immediately below John is the hand with the Chi Rho in its palm, indicating it to be the hand of Christ with its direction down upon the lily, symbolizing Mary. The text is, “JOHN ALONE DID NOT FORSAKE CHRIST, FOR WHICH HE WAS MADE GUARDIAN OF MARY.” The whole thought of this window is further emphasized by the words of Christ, “WOMAN, BEHOLD THY SON; SON, BEHOLD THY MOTHER.”
WINDOW 8. JOHN WITNESSING THE EMPTY TOMB
This window was erected by Mr. and Mrs. Ben Pastore in loving memory of Mr. and Mrs. Pete Pastore.
The text, “JOHN WITNESS TO EMPTY TOMB AND APPARITIONS.” John is shown looking down upon the sepulcher from which Christ has risen. Below is the Chi Rho, symbolizing the apparitions of Christ after His Resurrection.
WINDOW 7. TRAVELS OF ST. JOHN
This window was erected by Mr. and Mrs. Guy Russell in loving memory of Mr. and Mrs. John Fassino.
Above is a small figure of John walking along a path which leads him from Jerusalem to Asia Minor. It was then on the Island of Patmos, which is shown, that he wrote the Apocalypse, indicated by the book at the base of the window.
WINDOW 1. THE COAT OF ARMS OF POPE PIUS XII
This window was erected by Mrs. Phil Kuehner in loving memory of Phil Kuehner.
The fact that he is the Pope of Peace is stressed by means of the Dove and olive branch and the large word PAX.
WINDOW 12. COAT OF ARMS OF BISHOP EUGENE J. MCGUINNESS
This window was erected by Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Pezzetti in loving memory of their parents.
The shepherd’s staff together with the sheep suggest that the Bishop is the Pastor in his completeness. The succession from the Apostles is indicated by the silhouette figure in the background with his hand upon the Bishop.
These three panels were erected by Mr. and Mrs. John E. Layden in loving memory of their parents.
The center panel suggests Christ as King by right of His birth. That He is from the House of David is indicated by the Star at the extreme base of the window. The vine which grows upward through the panel contains in its branches four crowns suggesting the Kings of Israel. In His right-hand Christ holds the orb surmounted by the cross, suggesting His Kingship, and at the extreme top of the window are, on one side, the Dove suggesting the Holy Spirit, and on the other, the triangle representing the Father.
The left-hand panel suggests Christ’s kingship by right of conquest. It was through the Crucifixion that he conquered, indicated by the cross from which a vine coming downward envelops a second cross – that of the repentant thief – thereby indicating his heavenly reward. The cross at the left side is enveloped by flames which ascend from below, indicating that the unrepentant thief was gathered in by the forces of evil. At the extreme top of the window are crownlike forms suggesting Christ’s victory over death.
The right panel then is Christ’s kingship by right of possession. The natural creation is indicated. Near the top nebulous forms indicate the creation of light; then throughout the area of this panel are seen the separation of land and water, the heavenly bodies, the fish and birds, plant life, and finally man.
This window is to be viewed as a sincere attempt to achieve beauty by means of portraying ideas by metaphysical rather than realistic means. It is probably one of the really very good windows, but requires a great deal of study because only by applying the whole of one’s being, both rational and emotional, to it can one hope to have it talk back adequately.
LARGE CENTER TRANSOM
In the center, the Chi Rho rising from the lily represents the Nativity; on the left side the Annunciation, the dove descending (down) to the lily. The Visitation is indicated by the two hands, representing Elizabeth rising (up) to receive the lily. On the other side, or right side, we show the Presentation in the Temple by means of the Temple and the Chi Rho in the center of it. Below, the Tablets of the Law suggest the Finding in the Temple of Christ among the Doctors.
The six windows in the sanctuary appropriately contain symbols of the early Christian Church and of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The symbol of the fish is representative of Christianity and the loaves of the Sacrifice of the Mass. They were erected by the following:
Mr. and Mrs. Dom DelCiello, in memory of Gloria;
Mrs. John B. Tua, in memory of her family;
Miss Catherine Kuehner, in memory of the Poor Souls;
Miss Catherine Clarke, in memory of the Clarke Family.
The Alter Rail and Pulpit were given by Mr. and Mrs. Lawton H. Jones, for God’s blessings upon their families.
The main Alter was given by Mr. and Mrs. Louis Gaberino, in memory of their parents.