Singing Stained Glass

The rose window on the west façade of St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska depicts Saint Cecilia accompanied by a symphony of musical instruments. From the altar, as the sun sets on this beautiful image of the patroness of music, its colors sing down upon the choir loft to silhouette the cathedral’s magnificent organ. In continuance of the Cathedral’s sacred music theme in honor of St. Cecilia, eight more stained glass windows, called the “Singing Windows,” bring natural light to the rest of the church from either side of the clerestory. The windows honor the holy cantress with a chorus of traditional Catholic hymns from the liturgical year (The Magnificat, Te Deum Laudamus, Gloria in Excelsis, Stabat Mater, Victimae Paschali, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Dies Irae, and Pange Lingua Gloriosi.)

The images and inscriptions give meaning to the stained glass, just as the words and prayers we sing give meaning to the music. Both colorful light and classical music are beautiful, and by their very existence they give glory to God. However, by depicting images and written words in the glass, or singing prayers to the music, we allow that glory to partake in our praise. All of creation glorifies Him, but only human beings can praise Him, because praise is the laudation of His glory.

St. Cecilia, pray for us!

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