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Last Monday, Deacon Mike, Rosy, and I went to the home and studio of Dirk Maes. Dirk is the son of the artist who made our original stained glass windows in the church. Dirk learned the art of crafting stained glass from his father, and has taken on the project of making the stained glass for the front of our new narthex. The original six panels will be incorporated into a design of 22 panels. The design was inspired by some original drawings from Dirk’s father. Like the original panels, these are a special kind of stained glass called dalle de verre; it is about an inch thick and is very heavy. Dirk showed us many shelves of this glass, in a wide variety of colors. He showed us the diamond-bladed saw with which he cuts the glass into the various shapes called for by the design. He demonstrated the special technique he uses to put facets in the glass. He even let us put some of the pieces into their proper place in one of the window panes.

My visit with Dirk was not only interesting, informative, and entertaining; it was also a way for me to get directly in touch with the artistry and craftsmanship that are going into this major aspect of our narthex. Every piece of glass is chosen and shaped according to the artist’s specifications. The pieces are joined together by a special kind of epoxy. Everything is done with the kind of deliberation and care that a true artist must have.

What was the inspiration of the design? Here are the words of the designer, Kaj:

My inspiration for this project comes from my friend [Dirk] asking for help.

Secondly, it was his father’s vision and design that was so inspiring.

Third, it was the pure enlightenment that guided my path.

By studying the original drawings and notes, I was given a clear vision of where the design was to go; it had movement and grandeur and a timeless aspect to inspire.

My hope was to honor the original design and designer, to carry it through its spark, its spirit, to invite imagination and enjoyment to others.

Gratefully yours,

From January 30th through February 4th, St. Edward the Confessor Parish School will be celebrating annual Catholic Schools Week. During this week, our students will be focusing on their appreciation for the many qualities (and many people) that make a Catholic education a special blessing and an advantage for life.

We can be justifiably proud that our parish has a large and vibrant school. There are many reasons for this. We have a large number of wonderful students, from St. Edward the Confessor and from San Felipe de Jesús; and our highly qualified and dedicated teachers and staff are guiding them in the process of learning. The school’s Catholic identity is the heart and soul of everything that happens here. When the students participate in Mass on Friday mornings, it is clear that they are fully engaged. This involvement in the life of faith continues across the curriculum and within the family life of every student.

I am sure everyone would agree that our parish must look to the future and provide for the future. Our young people are the future. Thanks to God and His loving Providence, our parish is able to provide a fine Catholic education for the Church of the future. As we thank God for this gift, we remember that all of us continue to be students. God continues to teach us all; and it’s important to apply the motto of our school to our own lives. Like our students and their teachers and administrators, all of us are “Always Learning.”

Gratefully yours,

The statue of Welcoming Jesus is beautifully placed in front of the entrance to our church. The open arms of the Lord remind all of us that he truly welcomes us every time we enter the church. The statue also reminds us that this is how our parish must be: all of us must welcome everyone who comes here in the spirit of Christ. We are all truly blessed to have this image in front of our church.

But there is another image, just as important. In the parking lot, on a bench, is the image of Homeless Jesus. He is only recognizable by the nail wounds in his feet. The statue is realistic, and hopefully it catches our eye as we walk from the parking lot to the entrance of the church. Hopefully it reminds us that Christ identifies himself with the poor; what we do for them, we do for him.

The United States Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development has designated January as Poverty Awareness Month. We can’t let the month go by without reflecting on the fact that more than 37 million Americans live in poverty. What can we do to help? Here are a few ideas:

  • Pray for all who are poor, and pray for an end to poverty

  • Support the ministry of our parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society, which helps those in need

  • Support the great work of FAM (Family Assistance Ministries), which partners with our parish in helping families in need

  • Visit to become informed about this important issue

Let’s make sure we recognize the Lord and respond to him in the poor and needy. We may not see wounded feet, but his image and likeness is still there. Let’s give him the love and honor he deserves.

Gratefully Yours,

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