The Art of St. Bartholomew Church

The Art of St. Bartholomew Church

The Church renovation began in 1992 when we celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the parish. Interior remodeling included moving the altar and pulpit forward, repositioning the pews around the altar and building a baptistry. Stained glass windows were added in different stages through the nineties up through 2001 when the windows at the main entrance of the church and school were completed. 2001 witnessed the construction of the bell tower and covered walkways to join the church and school. The final touch was the entrance of the church.

Stained glass windows add beauty to a church building, while charging the atmosphere with an element of mystery. They embody messages of faith that speak of God's presence among us. The windows of St. Batholomew Church reflect in colored glass our Catholic tradition and experiences: we celebrate Christian faith in “Word” and “Sacrament.” The north side windows develop the theme of “Sacrament,” while the south side windows develop the “Word” in the Church.

South Wall “Word” Windows (from east to west)

These windows presented here develop this “Word”theme as Salvation History reaching from creation, through the Old Testament and New Testament events, with the spread of the gospel to many lands including ours up to the time of the Lord’s Final Coming.

Narrow Window #9: Creation. Light came to break the darkness. Worlds are created by the Word of God. Human life, in the creation of man and woman, is the climax of God’s creation. The people are in aworld full of plants and animals. The upper windows hint at the vastness of space, with planets and stars in the extremes of the universe.

Wide Window #10: Old Testament. Patriarchs reflect the ancient history of the Jewish people as called by God to be his own people. The elderly couple Abraham and Sarah rejoice at the birth of Isaac; the name “Isaac” reflects how Sarah “laughed.” Moses led Israel from slavery in Egypt to the promised land. God appeared on Mount Sinai amid thunder and trumpet blasts to reveal his law. Animal sacrifice expressed Israel’s covenant with God.

Wide Window # 11: Resurrection.Christianity begins in the event of Easter: the Lord Jesus rises above the tragedy of Calvary and the darkness of the tomb. His glory promises glory for his people. Mary of Nazareth, his loving mother, rejoices in her Son’s victory. Mary of Magdala, his loyal friend, is sent to announce his glory; she is the apostle to the apostles.

Wide Window #12: Apostles and the Church. Peter and Paul reflect the early Church in its mission to bring the gospel to others. Peter received from Jesus the keys of the kingdom. Paul will suffer death by the sword because of his ministry. Bartholomew in the foreground ponders the scriptures’ being fulfilled in Christ. The preaching and lives of the apostles form a foundation for the church people represented by the church structure above them.
Church

Narrow Window # 13: Evangelizationthe Gospel spreads.From Jerusalem to Miramar, by sea, air, land, and the broadcast media the gospel message spreads everywhere. In the upper horizontal windows the four versions of the one gospel are represented by the “four living creatures” in the Book of Revelation: Matthew, the face of a human; Mark, the lion; Luke the bull, and John, the eagle.

Narrow Window # 14: Evangelization the Gospel’s message. The message of death and resurrection of Jesus is not only preached but lived. St. Paul says: “We carry in our bodies the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus can also be manifest.” We see symbols of the martyr-deaths of the apostles: the upside-down cross of Peter, the X-shaped cross of Andrew, the sword of beheading for Paul, the knife by which Bartholomew was skinned alive. The lily and light represent resurrection’s new life.

Wide Window #15: The Kingdom Come! Jesus describes the joys of his kingdom as a feast, a celebration, a song and sacred dance of all God’s saints. The upper horizontal panels allude to the vision in the Book of Revelation of the “holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,” with its twelve gates guarded by twelve angels and built on twelve courses of stones signifying the twelve apostles.

North Wall “Sacrament” Windows (from west to east)

These windows on the north wall develop this “Sacrament”theme in two ways:

Narrow Windows: we are a Sacramental People the church is the sacrament of Christ’s presence in the world. We are living signs of Christ’s presence in the world. Here in South Florida our different lives reflect Jesus’ love.

Wide Windows: we celebrate Sacramental Actions the seven sacraments are living signs of Christ’s presence among us.

Wide Window #1: Baptism and Confirmation. The Holy Spirit brings us the spiritual fire and cleansing water of baptism. People of different races, cultures and nations become joined to Jesus Christ and anointed with his Spirit. Fire, water, and oil signify this mysterious working of God in our lives.

Narrow Window # 2: Sacramental People. Faces of people of the Church in different moments of life.

Narrow Window #3: Sacramental People. Our Church includes different ages and races.

Wide Window # 4: Holy Eucharist. Bread and wine, which “the earth has given and human hands have made,” become the body and blood of Christ. Hands reach out to satisfy the many hungers of human life. The loaves and fishes remind us of Jesus, the Bread of Life, who is himself our nourishment, as we receive the host and share the chalice.

Wide Window # 5: Reconciliation and Anointing of Sick. This window of healing and reconciliation is appropriately set under a large cross with crown of thorn in the center. We see in the windows the need and hope for healing on different levels: physical, moral, individual, interpersonal, interracial, intercultural, international.

Wide Window #6: Marriage and Holy Orders. The two hands in the upper horizontal windows draw attention to the “person-to-person” dimension of these sacraments. The ministries of deacon, priest and bishop serve the church; the papal tiara reflects our union with the Pope. Two couples one being a deacon with his wife reflect commitment to each other within marriage and family life, as well as a dedication to the Church.

Narrow Window #7: Sacramental People. People of the Church may be found riding tricycles, wheelchairs or sailboats thinking, playing, reading and praying.

Narrow Window # 8: Sacramental People. People of the Church working and building.

Upper horizontal windows: These larger windows along the top of the building continue developing the "sacramental" character of the Church. Besides what we have mentioned along with the vertical windows, we see some ancient traditional symbols:

BoatThe Boat. The image of a ship has long symbolized the Church as moving through the rough seas of this world to the final, safe haven of God's kingdom. We are saved by boarding this ship-church founded by Christ. Beyond that ancient image, many are conscious as being part of a "boat people" that have come to South Florida seeking religious, personal, and political freedom.

The Fish. The early Christian acronym "icthus," the Greek word for "fish," represented "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." The symbol of the "fish" became a kind of a Christian "underground "symbol that believers knew referred to Jesus.

The Heart and the Cross. Traditional symbols for love and faith.

The Crown. This symbol of God's kingdom marks the Eucharist as the "crowning" sacramental celebration of Christ's real presence.

The Hands. God’s inner trinitarian life is person-to-person. Our Christian lives are person-to-person in our relationship with Christ and with each other. The Holy Spirit as Dove and Fire gives life to all these relationships.

Hurricane

The Flowers and the Hurricane. God’s people live their faith all the different moments of life. The lower windows were installed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The Entrance and West Windows

Doors and Windows The inspiration for the symbols on the stained glass around the doors came from the Jubilee 2000 logo. The five doves in different colors represent different continents with their diversity of peoples. They gather together around the Cross of Christ, the great symbol of God’s love for humanity.

The side panels signify a spirit of celebration and joy for all we become together in Christ. The host and chalice on the north side recall that we are a Eucharistic people; on the south side, the crosses on the globe signify the gospel message spread throughout the world. The name “Jesus Christ” is the last image we see as a we leave the church a reminder of whom and what we are sent to represent in the world.

West WindowsThe window in the reconciliation room of confession has a cross with an olive branch, a symbol of peace. In the “cry room” the “Chi-Rho” represents Christ, the first two letters of the name in Greek “CRISTOS” or “Christos”; the “Mystical Rose” is a traditional symbol for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The window in the stairs leading to the loft has “IHS” monogram, the first three letters of the Greek word for Jesus “IHSOUS” or “Jesous.”

The artist for the windows

The stained glass windows for St. Bartholomew Church came into existence through the artistry and creativity of Mr. Karel Dupré. Born in Belgium, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Louvaine and at St. Luke’s School of Fine Arts in Brussels. In the Belgian Congo he studied primitive African art. Besides designing and executing stained glass for commercial buildings and private residences, he has produced his art to beautify synagogues and churches in 18 American states, Norway and Belgium. 
Mr. Dupré worked closely with our parish through Fr. Paul and the parish Pastoral Council on the themes and designs for the parish windows. Mr. Dupré did the final design work. The glass is imported from Germany and France. His wife Lea works with him in cutting the glass and fitting the pieces together with lead strips. He does the painting and then the firing of the glass in his kiln up to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. They work in their studio in Miami.

The Main Doors and Fisherman Statue

Front doors convey a message, whether at the front of a business, a home, or a church. They say something about the identity of the building and its spirit of “openness.” Our new doors and entrance will welcome people and convey a message of who we are as a Christian community.

We are a “gospel” people. The “good news” of Jesus, our risen savior, forms the foundation of our faith and life. The gospel traditions of the four evangelists, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, celebrate the varied aspects of that saving message. Plaques representing those four in their traditional symbols adorn the four front doors. This imagery traces its roots to the four winged creatures described in the vision of Ezekiel 1:10 and Revelation 4:6. These four creatures may have been attached to each evangelists because of the different way each one begins his gospel. The symbol of the human being came to represent Matthew; his gospel begins with the human origins of the Messiah. The lion became attached to Mark; his gospel begins the voice of John the Baptist “roaring” in the desert. The calf or ox represents Luke; his gospel begins with a scene in the temple where animals were sacrificed. The eagle signifies John; his gospel beginning soars to the heights of heaven in mystery of God’s Word that becomes flesh.

To the fishermen of Galilee Jesus declared: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Mark 1,17. “The Fisherman” has taken up his position welcoming and drawingpersons to the gospel doors of the church.

 

The Fisherman has remained unnamed.
    He can represent Christ who still fishes to draw us to the kingdom. 
    He can remind us of the apostles who first went fishing for souls; maybe St. Bartholomew helped 
        them at the sea of Galilee.
    He can challenge us to go fishing ourselves to draw others to Christ.
    He and his net will symbolically gather us all into the Church and the Kingdom.

 

The Artist for the The Main Doors and Fisherman statue

The art of Cuban born sculptor Rafael Consuegra has decorated the artistic landscape from Europe to the Caribbean, through the United States and Latin America, in academic and religious settings. Father Paul and the Pastoral Council worked with him through the design and the execution of the evangelist plaques and the fisherman sculpture. Bronze colored glaze covers a ceramic base in the door plaques. The metal sculpture of the fisherman includes many different metals and textures.