Denver Catholic

DCR - Mar. 12, 2014

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SACRED ART I 11 DENVER CATHOLIC REGISTER I MARCH 12, 2014 BY JULIE FILBY S ixteen new pieces of con- temporary theological art have been installed at Our Lady of Loreto Church in the form of stained glass windows. "They're stunning," pastor Msgr. Edward Buelt told the Register Feb. 27, while the par- ish was in the midst of an instal- lation process that began Feb. 24. "Photos don't even begin to compare to the beauty of the actual windows." The new windows were de- signed by artist and Littleton native Scott Parsons, an art pro- fessor at Augustana College in Sioux City, S.D., and a Lutheran Christian whose work for Loreto was infl uenced by a "Colorado spirituality." The windows com- plement the natural elements of stone and wood in the 2003 Ro- manesque style church at 18000 E. Arapahoe Road in Foxfi eld— elements designed to refl ect the Colorado landscape, according to Msgr. Buelt, including a mar- ble and limestone altar, stone sanctuary, and tall beams of red oak representing trees. "(I told Scott) we don't want glass that simply projects light," Msgr. Buelt said. "We wanted glass that captures it, plays with it and in some sense refashions it, and then throws it into the church. "Boy have we achieved that in spades," he said. "In particular the deep golds and the reds." They are situated to respond to varying light during the four seasons, according to Parsons, for example, a window rep- resenting summer is on the north-facing wall and winter on the south-facing wall. The windows depict a va- riety of theological imagery specifi cally: fi ve circular dome windows facing due east por- tray the heavenly Jerusalem as revealed in the Book of Revela- tion, namely the Lamb of God seated on his throne and the tree of life; one circular window to the northwest that represents the marriage of the Lamb of God to "the heavenly Denver"; and 10 rectangular windows on the north and south walls that illustrate the nine ranks of an- gels and the prince of archan- gels, St. Michael. "We were very concerned to follow the ancient tradition and theology of the Church and in particularly Pseudo Dionysius, the most quoted Church father in St. Thomas' 'Summa Theo- logica,'" Msgr. Buelt explained, referring to the well-known theological work of St. Thomas Aquinas. There St. Thomas cautioned against representing angels in human form. "We made a very intentional design choice," Msgr. Buelt con- tinued, "an attempt to capture the very nature of a pure spiritu- al being, namely an angel, in ac- cord with the teaching of Scrip- ture and the Church Fathers." The angels are represented by breath, wind, fi re and water, Parsons said, and the material itself made this way: the stained glass is mouth-blown with "breath and wind," the pigment involves a series of fi rings and etchings, then the piece is cooled with water. The windows, fi - nanced by an anon- ymous donor, were fabricated at the Derix Glass Studios in Taunnesstein, Germa- ny, whose work includes St. Joseph Church of Resurrection at Ground Zero in New York and a 6,900-square-foot installation Dome of Light at the Formo- sa Boulevard Station in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Parsons' work in the Denver area includes fi ve digital murals de- signed for the Nation- al Cable Television Center and Museum Main Exhibition Hall on the University of Denver campus. Derix installed the windows along with a local team. They were blessed at the 11 a.m. Mass March 9 and there will be a second blessing at 11 a.m. Mass March 16. "I invite everyone to come out and engage with the windows," Ms- gr. Buelt said. "They are already being hailed as a masterpiece of stained glass and a major advance of contemporary theo- logical art." In Msgr. Buelt's conversa- tions with Barbara Derix— whose family founded Derix Glass Studios, the largest stained glass studio in Eu- rope, in 1866—she relayed that every ma- jor artist in Germany who viewed the win- dows while they were on display at the studio, including world-class glass artist Karl Mar- tin-Hartmann, "halt- ed" before them and commented that they were "as beautifully de- signed and executed as any," including being compared favorably to the Chagall windows at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. "They are a major advance because they are so theologically accurate, precisely re- fl ective of the Vatican II exhortation to 'resource- ment' or return to the sources," Msgr. Buelt said. "Specifi cally a re- turn to the Church Fa- thers and particularly Pseudo Dionysius and St. Thomas Aquinas." At the same time they are inspirational, he said, capable of inspiring refl ection, joy and beauty in the heart of contemporary man. "I look forward very much to refl ecting with parishioners on their theological meaning and the spirituality of the kingdom of God which they proclaim," he added. The experience has been "in- credible" and "precious," ac- cording to Parsons. "To impact the spiritual life of an individual is the highest call- ing as an artist," he said. For more information, visit Julie Filby: 303-715-3123; julie. fi; www.twitter. com/DCRegisterJulie THE LAMB OF GOD THE CELESTIAL DENVER SPRING SUMMER FALL WINTER STAINED GLASS WINDOWS AND SACRED MUSIC Where: Our Lady of Loreto Church, 18000 E. Arapahoe Road, Foxfi eld What: Blessing of new stained glass windows When: 11 a.m. Mass March 16 What: Organ concert by Russian performer Marina Omelchenko When: 7:30 p.m. March 16 Theme: Lord's passion, cre- ation, marriage feast of the Lamb and angels (as depicted on the new windows) Cost: free, donations accept- ed for Mary Mother of God Mission Society, assisting the people and Church in Vladivo- stok, Russia Questions: 303-766-3800 or SERAPHIM THRONES DOMINIONS PRINCIPALITIES ARCHANGELS

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