30 September 2013

Embraced by a saint...

Near the pulpit is a very special window. It's special, not because it's of rare artistic value or of great age.  In fact, as stained glass, it's very nice but not remarkable.  No, it's special because of the occasion it commemorates.  This is the story:
In 1983 I was a newly-ordained priest. In November of that year, it was my privilege to be in Rome to take part in developing The Book of Divine Worship. During that time an invitation was extended to celebrate Mass with His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, in his private chapel. After we had said Mass, and in those few moments I had with the Holy Father, he told me that he remembered considering the request for my ordination, and he described how he came to an affirmative decision. For me, our brief conversation was an experience which will be treasured forever. At the conclusion of our time together, I asked him if I could take his blessing back to the people of my parish. His very simple words remain precious to me: "With all my heart, I bless you and your people." He then embraced me, and I knew that I was forever "home in my Father's house."
The world has now learned that Bl. John Paul II will be canonized next April, on Mercy Sunday, forever to be known as St. John Paul II.  

Here are a few pictures showing the details of the window.
 
The Coat of Arms of Bl. John Paul II is at the top,
connected by the grape vine to our parish symbol of the Pelican.
 
 
The words spoken to me by the Holy Father:
 

The date and place:

 
Detail showing the Pelican (a symbol of the Atonement):
 

The name of the parish and the date of its founding:

 

And here is the picture of the occasion which is commemorated in the window.