New chapel window honors soon-to-be saint

New chapel window honors soon-to-be saint

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Workers put the finishing touches on the installation of the new Blessed John Paul II stained glass window, Sept. 27 in the Virginia G. Piper Chapel at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Workers put the finishing touches on the installation of the new Blessed John Paul II stained glass window, Sept. 27 in the Virginia G. Piper Chapel at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

The Diocese of Phoenix has taken the next step toward completing the artwork in the chapel at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Bob Rigali, the Chicago-based artist who has designed and installed 10 ground-level stained glass windows over the past few years, installed the first upper window Sept. 27.

The 6-by-20-foot half-circle window depicts Blessed Pope John Paul II, to whom the entire chapel is dedicated, and sits directly above the altar and ambo that the late pontiff used during his Arizona visit in 1987. Rigali couldn’t say how many JPII windows he has made, but said it’s the third this year.

Those working in the Diocesan Pastoral Center stopped by during a mid-morning break to watch. Many were eager to see how accurately the glass depicted the soon-to-be saint.

“I think it looks just like him,” Rigali said.

Passersby agreed. They were relieved and in awe of its beauty. The window shows the future saint at his writing desk surrounded by 14 titles of his major works. An icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Blessed John Paul’s papal coat of arms and a crucifix also appear.

Fr. Fred Adamson, vicar general and moderator of the curia, watched finishing touches of the installation with Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares. Fr. Adamson noted how the newest window ties other artwork in the chapel together.

Ten of the 14 vertical stained glass windows already installed on the side walls depict saints that Blessed Pope John II had a deep devotion to or advanced toward sainthood during his 27-year pontificate. Many of the saints, such as Blessed Frederic Ozanam and St. André Bessette, have a connection to a local outreach in the diocese.

Individuals and groups across the diocese sponsor each window.

The most recent dedication, that of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was in March. The final donations for a window honoring St. Padre Pio are coming in now. Installation should be early next year.

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Artwork in The Virginia G. Piper Chapel

The 140-seat chapel, located at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, holds Mass weekdays for diocesan staff and visiting groups attending meetings and conferences. It’s also open to local Catholic organizations. To sponsor a stained glass
window or other artwork, call (602) 354-2216.

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