Foxfield church’s glass offers astonishing art

By Sonya Ellingboe
Posted 3/25/14

To fully appreciate the newly installed stained-glass windows at Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Church in Foxfield, one should visit at various times of day and in different seasons, when the changing sunlight will create new effects.

Officially …

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Foxfield church’s glass offers astonishing art

Posted

To fully appreciate the newly installed stained-glass windows at Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Church in Foxfield, one should visit at various times of day and in different seasons, when the changing sunlight will create new effects.
Officially blessed at a Mass on March 16, the 16 recently installed works of art were created by artist Scott Parsons and fabricated by the century-old Derix Glasstudios in Taunusstein, Germany. They are collectively called The Heavenly Jerusalem Windows and each has a distinctive story to tell the viewer.
Installation of the round and rectangular windows in the handsome Romanesque-style church was made possible by an anonymous donor, according to Msgr. Edward Buelt, who founded the parish and worked closely with the artist on the spiritual symbolism in each individual design.
The windows are stained glass with colors painted on, versus the leaded glass windows we are accustomed to. They are filled with dazzling colors and occasional touches of gold, applied to the hand-blown glass panels in patterns that include both representational images and more sweeping abstract images. Angels, the elements, sunlight and vegetation — all imaginatively presented.
Parsons, who was born in Littleton, has an MFA in painting from CU-Boulder — with graduate work in archaeology — and is chairman of the art department at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. He has been creating public art, including liturgical art, for 20 years. Several years ago, Parsons, a Lutheran, worked with the Derix studios on stained glass windows for Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. In Denver, he is represented by the prestigious William Havu Gallery and has work installed at the National Cable Television Center and Museum at the University of Denver and at locations across the nation and in Canada.
Our Lady of Loreto’s western facade is inspired by the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan, Italy. The eight-sided dome has five circular windows supported by laminated red oak pillars, which represent trees. The central, east-facing window depicts the Lamb of God, with blood flowing from the pierced heart and clear blue water. Alpha and Omega symbols are copied from Botticini’s “Assumption of the Virgin,” seen in Washington’s National Galleries, according to an explanation by Msgr. Buelt on the church website, where images of all the windows can be seen.
Round windows symbolizing each season are next on each side, and opposite the lamb is The Celestial Denver window, which brings the series home to its location. A columbine (an ancient symbol of the Holy Spirit) is in the center, backed by an image of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and mountain peaks, with an image of Red Rocks Amphitheatre to the side.
Ten clerestory windows portray God’s nine ranks of angels and one dedicated to St. Michael, Prince of Angels, according to Msgr. Buelt’s text. Each has its distinctive colors and symbolism: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels and St. Michael, the Archangel.
The dramatic images are swirling and abstract representations of spiritual beings. Their interpretation is based on theological work of St. Thomas Aquinas, according to a story in the Denver Catholic Register, saying he cautioned against representing angels in human form. The artist said they are represented by breath, wind, fire and water.
We would urge art lovers, regardless of religious affiliation, to see these really unique examples of liturgical art—made for the 21st century.
If you go:
Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Parish is located at 18000 E. Arapahoe Road in Foxfield — just east of Parker Road. We were told that because the church also operates a school, the three bronze sanctuary doors are locked during the week, but a large door labeled Main Door is open and an attendant is there, who can grant admission to the sanctuary. It is open for Masses, with times listed on the website. 303-766-3800, OurLadyofLoreto.org.

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