by PETER GRACE
A stained glass window from St Benedict’s Church in Newton, Auckland, will feature in NZ Post’s series of 2015 Christmas stamps.
The window is one of three connected windows in the Church’s Marian Chapel that portray aspects of the Christmas story.
Parish priest Msgr Paul Farmer told NZ Catholic that “one of the treasures in St Benedict’s are the three stained glass windows depicting the birth of Christ”. Those windows were added only in 1976.
He doesn’t know, although he would love to find out, who sponsored and/or arranged the installation. Information imprinted on the glass says: “M. Redini, L. Giuliani, ITALIA 1976, Vetrate D’Arte Giuliani.”
The image on the $3 NZ Post Christmas stamp portrays the right hand of the three windows, featuring the wise men bearing gifts.
“They are unlike any of the windows in the church… more modern in style, rich in symbol, and depict the two Christmas stories of the Christian Scriptures,” said Msgr Farmer.
“The central window has the principal figures of Christmas, the Christ child, Mary and Joseph and it also incorporates the ox and donkey from Isaiah.”
The central window is linked to the window on the left by the window of the angel, connecting Luke’s Christmas story to the announcement by the angel to the shepherds.
“The right hand window is connected to the centre by the star,” Msgr Farmer said, “and shows wise men from the East with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
Together, he said, the three windows give a beautiful portrayal of what we find in Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospels. “They tell the story in the tradition of stained glass that’s found in the Scriptures. And certainly they’re worthy of time, attention and reflection.”
Msgr Farmer said he sent large size images of the windows to NZ Post in 2009 and had been phoning the company each year since.
The windows are especially beautiful when the strong western sun is going down in summer, he said, as they are on the western side of the church.
All 2015 NZ Post Christmas stamps feature stained glass images from New Zealand churches: 80c; St Mark’s, Carterton: $1.40; St Aidan’s Anglican, Remuera: $2; Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, Parnell: $2.50; Christchurch Hospital Nurses Memorial Chapel: $3; St Benedict’s, Newton.