Stained Glass Windows

One of the ways that the hearts and minds of men are raised to God is through beauty. The design and the details of stained glass windows found in many Catholic churches reveal his love and show his goodness.

More than just colorful decorations, panes of stained glass allow the light to reveal the colors of God’s creation and call to mind his presence.

The different symbols, messages, and colors found in the sacred art of stained glass windows help Catholics to focus on their prayers and reflect more deeply on their faith and the nature of God.

The stained glass windows in many Catholic churches bring together art, theology, science, and engineering to create colorful scenes and images that teach and inspire.

For centuries, stained glass windows that depict biblical events and portray characters from Sacred Scripture have helped Catholics learn about Salvation History, even when many could not read.

Images of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and saints who were active in the life of the Church serve as examples of heroic sanctity and service to God that should be imitated.

The style of the artwork and the scenes or individuals depicted in the windows often reveal the history of that church and culture of the local community.

Colored glass that shows the glory of God’s creation:

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

Windows that are instructional and inspirational:

Syracuse Diocese

The wall was constructed of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the city wall were decorated with every precious stone; the first course of stones was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl; and the street of the city was of pure gold, transparent as glass.

Revelation 21: 18-21

Telling stories with colored glass:

Currents News

Windows that are meant to be read:


Every stained glass window tells a story:

St. Anne’s Catholic Church Le Sueur

The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.” The honor paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone: Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2132

Stained glass with a transcendent purpose:

Bishop Robert Barron

In the 12th and 13th centuries another kind of architecture for sacred buildings spread from the north of France: the Gothic. It had two new characteristics in comparison with the Romanesque, a soaring upward movement and luminosity. Gothic cathedrals show a synthesis of faith and art harmoniously expressed in the fascinating universal language of beauty which still elicits wonder today. By the introduction of vaults with pointed arches supported by robust pillars, it was possible to increase their height considerably. The upward thrust was intended as an invitation to prayer and at the same time was itself a prayer. Thus the Gothic cathedral intended to express in its architectural lines the soul’s longing for God. In addition, by employing the new technical solutions, it was possible to make openings in the outer walls and to embellish them with stained-glass windows. In other words the windows became great luminous images, very suitable for instructing the people in faith. In them scene by scene the life of a saint, a parable or some other biblical event were recounted. A cascade of light poured through the stained-glass upon the faithful to tell them the story of salvation and to involve them in this story.

Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 18 November 2009

Windows that impact families and communities:

Diocese of Tucson

Enhancing worship with centuries-old techniques and skill:

Arlington Catholic Herald

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Sisters answer questions about nuns:

Ascension Presents

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