St. Joseph the Worker Stained Glass Windows
Many 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 Mary.
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.
All the colors used in the windows have specific meanings:
- God the Father, Royalty and Strength
- The Virgin Mary, Hope and Sincerity
- The Sky, Love, Peace, and Infinity
- An Emblem of Christ risen
- Innocence, Purity, Patience
- Power, Glory, the Gate of Heaven
- Birth, Peace, Life over Death, Faith and Hope