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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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"Nothing should be allowed that is unworthy of divine worship, nothing that is obviously profane or unfit to express the inner, sacred power of prayer. Nothing odd or unusual is allowable, since such things, far from fostering devotion in the praying community, rather shock and upset it—and impede the proper and rightful cultivation of a devotion faithful to tradition."
— Pope Paul VI • 10/13/1966

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New Stained Glass Windows of Military Saints
published 11 November 2019 by Fr. David Friel

OVEMBER is the month of All Saints and All Souls, and today is both the feast of one of the Church’s great soldier-saints, Martin of Tours, and Veterans Day in the USA. In that spirit, it seems appropriate to share news of a set of stained glass windows featuring military-related saints that was recently crafted and installed. Now gracing the chapel of the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) in Washington, DC, these windows were designed and executed by Washington Art Glass Studio, based in Dunkirk, MD.

The main windows depict saints who have a particular connection to military life. These include the Roman Centurion (Mt 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10), St. Martin of Tours, St. Joan of Arc, St. John of Capistrano, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Also included are Saints Peter & Paul, the four evangelists, symbols of the seven sacraments and the office of preaching, two episcopal coats of arms (belonging to Archbishops Joseph T. Ryan and Timothy P. Broglio, the first and current archbishops of the AMS), and six seals of the military branches and departments.

All the windows were blessed during a ceremony in early September 2019 that included readings from Sacred Scripture and the singing of psalms and hymns. In his remarks, Archbishop Broglio reflected on the significance of the occasion:

When the Church blesses stained glass windows, she does so for the following reasons: that when we look at the representations of those who followed Christ faithfully, we will be motivated to seek the city that is to come, that we will learn the way to attain complete union with Christ, that as we struggle along with our earthly cares, we will be mindful of the saints, those friends and co-heirs with Christ who are also our own brothers and sisters and our special benefactors, that we will remember how they love us, are near to us, intercede ceaselessly for us, and are joined to us in communion.

The following gallery includes photographs of the new windows.

Two interesting things appear near the back of the chapel. First is a set of two windows side-by-side with no saints depicted. One presumes that these spaces are reserved in the hope that the canonization causes for Fr. Vincent Capodanno and Fr. Emil Kapaun will one day reach fulfillment.

Second, there are two paintings adorning the front of the balcony that, while not new, fit the overall plan of the chapel through their depiction of two additional saints with military connections. On the left appears St. George slaying the dragon, while on the right a young Fr. Angelo Roncalli (later Pope John XXIII) is shown ministering as a chaplain during World War I.