The Nave Windows

Descent of the Holy Spirit

Photograph by Bill Blanchard

The last nave window, the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday (Acts 2:1-12), celebrates the public beginning of the Church. Luke begins and ends his Gospel in the Temple of Jerusalem (1:8 and 24:53), the favored place of God's revelation to people at prayer. Likewise, during the nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost (the Fiftieth Day), the Apostles "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brothers " (Acts 1:14). The presence of the Holy Spirit was evident in a strong wind (the Hebrew term means "spirit" and "wind") and tongues of fire resting on each believer. Fire signifies the purifying power of divine love and the illuminating function of the instruction offered by the second Paraclete (John 14: 16-17, 25-36) recalling all that Jesus taught and guiding the application of divine wisdom to varying human needs in the teaching ministry of the Church. The prayerful presence of Mary, the Mother of the Church, draws her children into imitation of her first-born Son.


Mary is seated in the center, surrounded by the Apostles. The details of the room can be seen in the background. Peter is distinguished by his prominent position and by the elaborate design of his clothing.


In the cinquefoil above the lancets is the Holy Spirit, symbolized by the dove, reminding baptized Christians of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (see Isaiah 11:1-3), bestowed upon Jesus at his Baptism (Luke 3:21-22) for a ministry of teaching. Throughout our lives we remain disciples (learners) of the Lord in the Church. Then, as we mature into our particular vocations, we serve the Church and her members through the exercise of the seven virtues (faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude) uplifted by the accompanying impetus of the gifts offered by the Spirit of the Lord.


In the scroll at the bottom of the window are the words "Donated by Rev. P. W. Smith in memory of his parents John and Mrs. Liza Smith."