St. Ladislas Parish in Westlake got an early Christmas gift recently when 20 new, stained-glass windows were installed at the church. Bishop Nelson Perez celebrated a Mass on Oct. 27 to bless the windows.
The Westlake parish traces its roots to the original St. Ladislas, a Slovak parish established in 1885 on the Southeast Side of Cleveland. The church stood at East 92nd Street and Holton Avenue. Talks were under way to close the church and relocate the congregation when the building was destroyed by a fire on Aug. 8, 1970. Only one stained-glass window survived the blaze.
It was removed from the ruins and stored by a parishioner until the Diocese of Cleveland decided to build a new church on Bassett Road in Westlake. Father Thomas Cullen was named the founding pastor. Due to insurance policy stipulations, construction had to be under way by Sept. 1, 1973, so the project was fast-tracked.
The window recovered from the ruins of the old church was cleaned and installed at the new church. The large window depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary and was a focal point of the new building. The Assumption of Mary also is the liturgical feast that coincided with the groundbreaking and dedication of the new church.
Father Donald Snyder, current pastor, said a complete refurbishing of the sanctuary space took place in 2003-2004 and there was a desire to add stained-glass windows to the building. Fundraising began in 2006 for the purchase of the windows. After years of fundraisers and through donations from parishioners, Father Snyder said 20 new, stained-glass windows were designed and crafted for the church.
“It was a project 14 years in the making,” Father Snyder said.
Like the church building, the windows are divided into three sections. In the main nave are Gospel parables and scenes from Scriptures.
The window from the original church was relocated during the sanctuary remodeling to a newly created shrine area to Mary. In the north nave, near the original Blessed Virgin Mary window, the new windows depict scenes from Mary’s life.
In the south nave, by the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and reconciliation room, the windows highlight themes from the Eucharist and reconciliation. In the cry room of the main nave near the front entrances, there are windows featuring St. Ladislas and St. Patrick.
Bishop Perez commented on the beauty of the new stained-glass windows and told parishioners that such windows have been used throughout history to help explain Scriptures to the faithful.
In the Marian wing, windows depict the annunciation, the visitation, the presentation in the temple, the finding of Jesus in the temple and Pentecost.
In the chapel wing, windows illustrate the wedding at Cana, the multiplication of the loaves, the temptation of Jesus, the good shepherd and the prodigal son.
In the nave, windows depict various Scripture stories including the burying of talents, the Good Samaritan, the miraculous catch of fish, the Pharisee and the tax collector, Philip and the Ethiopian, the rich man and Lazarus, the sower and the woman at the well.
The bishop said a prayer and then walked throughout the church blessing each window.
After Mass, a reception took place in the adjacent Cullen Hall.