The Rose Window ~ St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist Church, Dauphin

 Rose window at St. Matthew the Apostle, Dauphin PA  This image of Mary, Mother of God and Theotokos (God-Bearer), originates from the Eastern Catholic tradition. It commemorates a vision of Mary beheld by St. Andrew when enemies besieged the capital of Constantinople. People of the city, terror-stricken, gathered in the Church of Mary at Blachernae where her mantle had been preserved. There, the people prayed all night, after which St. Andrew saw the Blessed Mother in radiant light. She removed from her head a luminous veil and stretched it out over the people. News of the vision spread, the enemy retreated, and the city was saved. Mary continues to protect us by covering us with her holy mantle, keeping us free from enemies visible and invisible. Eight other Marian symbols surround her on the great window, which was commissioned by St. Matthew’s Parish.

    The central image of Mary the Protectress depicts an image of Our Lady surrounded by twelve stars. These stars represent the graces and privileges she received from God. The image of the dove above Mary is symbolic of the Holy Spirit representing the Annunciation to Mary as the Mother of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    The Assumption Lily is a symbol of virginity and purity. This flower blooms in mid-August, during the time when we celebrate Mary’s Assumption into Heaven.

    The Pear represents the fruit of her womb, Jesus.

    As Queen of the Rosary, Mary lets us, the faithful, participate in the life of Christ.

    In the title Gate of Heaven, Mary is seen as an entryway through which the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ, has come to us and through which we pass to unite with God in Paradise.

    The name Ark of the Covenant symbolizes Mary as guardian of the Word made flesh. At the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel told Mother Mary she would be the Mater Dei, the Mother of God. God’s physical presence would dwell in Mary’s womb in a way never before seen: Jesus as the second person of the Trinity would take upon human nature and become Incarnate.

    Mary as Mystical Rose emphasizes her mystical participation in the Holy Trinity as Heaven’s Rose.

    Our Lady as Immaculate Heart refers to Mary’s interior life – her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all persons.

    Blessed Virgin Queen of Heaven and Earth, Regina Caeli, Mary, is a title derived from the ancient Catholic teaching of the Assumption. Through this title, we remember Mary’s life on Earth and that at the end of this earthly life, she was bodily and spiritually assumed into Heaven. There she remains honored as Queen.   

    (Text derived from the Dedication Mass program of St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist Church in Dauphin. The Rose Window is located above the church entrance, and can be viewed from the choir loft.)

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