Windows at St. Mary's Church

Stained Glass Windows

Stained glass windows have two purposes, one is to let light into the building, and the other is to let light shine through beautiful images and enlighten our hearts and spirit. Below is shown the large Rose window and below that are the stained glass windows that surround the church walls. The windows are decorative and beautiful. On top of each window is a symbol. What follows is an explanation of each symbol.

Rose Window

The central image in most rose windows is a picture or symbol of Jesus. These windows are meant to symbolize how every bit of the entire cosmos is centered around Christ. The window is round. The circle has been considered the symbol of perfection and of the divine. Also, the “petals” out of which the window is mainly composed, has numeric significance. Eight is the number of the new creation. The seven days of creation will end with the eighth day at the end of time, a new creation in Christ.

The Phoenix

An ancient myth held that the beautiful phoenix, which lived in the Arabian desert, lived to be five hundred years old and then set its nest on fire and was consumed in the flames. After three days, the phoenix rose again from the ashes, restored to youth, to live another five hundred years. Early Christians saw in this tale a symbol of the Resurrection. It was used to symbolize resurrection generally at first, and gradually came to signify the Resurrection of Christ.

The Agnus Dei (Latin for "Lamb of God") may appear in several postures. Seated on a book with seven seals, it represents the final judgment when Christ returns in glory. (Rev. 5:11)

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"


The three letters IHS are the first three letter of the name "Jesus" spelled in Greek.

Keys to the Kingdom

The key represents the authority of the church to forgive sin in Jesus' name. Two keys represent dual authority to open heaven to repentant sinners and to lock heaven to the unrepentant.


The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It is taken from the story of Jesus' baptism, where the Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. The three rays coming from its head indicates the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Hearts represent love and life. Jesus’ heart beats with the fire of love (at the top of the heart) which was demonstrated at the cross. The fire also represents the purifying fire of God by which he purifies all people. It exudes the transformative power of divine love. The crown of thorns brought suffering which was endured for the love of humankind to redeem us — to bear our pain in his own heart.

Immaculate Heart of Mary: This one is similar to the Sacred Heart. The roses surrounding Mary’s heart represent her sinlessness and purity, sweetness and new life.

The sword piercing the heart refers to the prophecy of Simeon:

"Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:34-35)


The anchor was used as a symbol of the cross by early Christians who were persecuted for their beliefs. The cross is in the shape of an anchor to show that the risen Christ is our hope.


This widely used cross calls to mind the Trinity because of its trefoil end caps.


The lily is a symbol of purity and has become a symbol of the Virgin Mary. The Easter lily, a particular variety which blooms in spring from a seemingly lifeless bulb, has become symbolic of Christ's Resurrection.

Veronica’s Veil

On Jesus' journey to Calvary Veronica stops to wipe the face of Jesus and an image of his face was left upon the veil. While this story is not in the Bible it come from an ancient tradition that is found in the Stations of the Cross.

Mitre and Crosier

The mitre is the hat that the bishop wears and the crosier is the staff that he carries.

Papal tiara

Also known as the triple tiara, it has been used throughout the years at papal coronations. The keys to the Kingdom signify papal authority coming from Jesus through Peter.


The anchor was used as a symbol of the cross by early Christians who were persecuted for their beliefs.

The cross is in the shape of an anchor to show that the risen Christ is our hope.

The Ave Maria is the Latin form of one of the most popular Catholic prayers, the Hail Mary. It refers to the greeting of the angel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation.

Bread that is used as a symbol of sacrifice is made from wheat. Just like the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies so as to bear fruit, so is the life of Christ a sacrifice. This just goes to say that the grain of wheat is a symbol of Christ. The Crown of Thorns is a symbol of Jesus' Passion. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head. (Jn 19:2) Together the symbols show the sacrifice of Jesus.