The Light of Christ Our King:
Praying with Our Stained Glass Windows
“The footsteps of those men who called us to walk in their company left deep prints, as of men carrying heavy burdens. But they did not trudge; they strode. For they had the hope.” —Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross (8.122)
In 2011, Christ the King completed a beautification project which included the installation of stained glass windows along the north and south walls to replace the single-pane, frosted glass windows that had been in place since the church's original construction in 1961. Many of the newly installed stained glass windows were not actually new, however, but rather brought to Christ the King from another church in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, that had closed down. Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish in the Diocese of Allentown was established by Slovak immigrants on June 10, 1920, and opened its church for the first time on December 25, 1924. One of the most striking features of the church in Coaldale was its set of jewel-toned stained glass windows, designed and made by the Franz Mayer Company of Munich, Germany. The windows depicted various scenes from the Bible as well as the lives of Mary and the saints. After the church's closing on July 15, 2008, the windows were put up for sale, and many of them made their way to our church in South Bend.
As part of the installation project, the Coaldale windows were modified to fit the size constraints of the twelve open window spaces inside Christ the King, six each on the south and north sides. The windows nearest our sanctuary feature the Last Supper (south side) and Crucifixion (north side), both taken in whole from Coaldale. The remaining windows are each presented as a three-panel triptych—the center panel features a mystery of the rosary, taken from a Coaldale window, while the two side panels were newly designed and created for Christ the King. The south wall displays the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary in the center panels, and the north wall displays the five Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. The left side panel for each triptych displays a versicle taken from the Litany to Christ the King that aligns with the particular mystery next to it. The right side panel displays an image or symbol taken from Scripture or Tradition that in some way highlights a theological dimension of the accompanying mystery.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend celebrated a special Mass with our parish family on November 20, 2011, to officially bless the newly installed windows. Not only was this date the liturgical feast of Christ the King, but it also coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the current church building on November 20, 1961. "It is a wonderful demonstration of your faith, your commitment to your parish, and your desire to make this sacred place, dedicated fifty years ago to the glory and honor of Christ the King, an even more beautiful house of God," Bishop Rhoades said. "We remember in our prayers today all the faith-filled and generous parishioners since this parish's founding in 1933, seventy-eight years ago. We remember all the priests and sisters who have served here. In a special way, we remember the first pastor of Christ the King Parish, Holy Cross Fr. Clement Funke." Bishop Rhoades used Fr. Funke's chalice for the celebration of the Eucharist.
Additional windows from Coaldale can be found in various locations at Christ the King. Most prominently in the church vestibule is a stained glass image of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns and holding a reed in his hands, seated inside the praetorium as he awaits his final journey to Calvary. Above the middle doors of the church is a stained glass image of the host raised above a chalice, reminding us that the Eucharist we celebrate ultimately sends us out into the world to be the presence of Christ. Finally, two decorative windows form a skylight above the organ console in the choir loft. Together with the main windows in the nave of the church, Christ the King's inherited collection of stained glass serves to evoke and preserve the beauty of our Catholic faith, enhanced through the richness of sacred Scripture, the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and most importantly the divine mercy of Christ our King. May these windows be a source of prayer and reflection for many future generations of Christ the King parishioners!
Special acknowledgment is due to Fr. Neil Wack, C.S.C., for spearheading Christ the King's interior beautification project as pastor, as well as Fr. Kevin Grove, C.S.C., for his creative vision in the placement and design of the windows. Visit our digital media page to access three presentations given by Fr. Grove as part of our 2023 Parish Mission reflecting on and praying with our stained glass windows, or click on the links below for the audio files.
The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation
The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
Luke 1:30-33, 38
Jesus, King who is the Great I AM within us, our Wellspring of Pure Delight
The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
Luke 1:39-42, 45
Jesus, King, foretold by the prophets
The Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity
All went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Jesus, King of All Nations, recognized by the Magi as the True King
The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation
[Simeon] took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Jesus, King, the Light beyond all light, enlightening us in the darkness that surrounds us
The Fifth Joyful Mystery: Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
Jesus, King who teaches us that to reign is to serve
The Institution of the Eucharist
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father."
Jesus, King truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament
“This was the good news that many misunderstood and many rejected. The Lord Jesus was crucified. But the Father raised him to glory, and Christ breathed his Spirit into his people, the church. Dying and rising with him in baptism, his followers are sent to continue his mission, to hasten along the kingdom.” —Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross (2.10)
Jesus, King wounded by mankind’s indifference
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.
Luke 23:33, 44-46
The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection
As the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said."
Matthew 28:1-2, 4-6
Jesus, King who subjected under your feet forever the powers of hell
The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension
When [Jesus] had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."
Jesus, King whose Kingdom is not of this world
The Third Glorious Mystery: Pentecost
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Jesus, King who desires to heal us of all division and disunity
The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption
Now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power.
1 Corinthians 15:20-24
Jesus, King who made Mary your partner in the Plan of Salvation
The Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God.
Revelation 12:1-2, 5-6
Jesus, King who has given us Mary, the Queen, to be our dear Mother