New stained glass window for St. Mary’s School

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The students and faculty of St. Mary School in Alexandria received an early Christmas gift on Wednesday, a new stained- glass window made by Dixon Studios of Staunton. It is the first of five stained-glass windows specially designed with the students of the school in mind. 

“The windows are designed in a traditional style, with a special emphasis on details that will appeal to children,” said Annie Dixon, project manager. “In the Nativity window, the Baby Jesus is reaching out to the little lamb, creating soft and sweet composition, which is also a foreshadowing of the baby’s destiny as the sacrificial lamb.”

Near the crib is a cherub peeking into the manger. According to Dixon, the little angel acts as a reminder to the students that they each have a guardian angel watching over them. 

This particular window is dedicated to former St. Mary Church pastor, Father Dennis W. Kleinmann, as a way to thank him for his 15 years of service at the parish. According to Principal Janet Cantwell, Father Kleinmann was instrumental in moving the St. John Neumann chapel from the school’s lower level to the top level, giving it a more prominent place. The chapel was dedicated Sept. 8, 2015, on the feast of Mary’s Nativity. 

Since the chapel is not large enough to hold the 700-student body, the school continues to use the gym for weekly Mass. On First Friday, the entire school makes the six- block walk to St. Mary Church. The chapel, which holds 40 people, is used daily for activities including morning faculty prayer, Thursday adoration and weekly confessions for the middle school. 

The remaining four windows will complete the joyful mysteries as suggested by pastor, Father Edward C. Hathaway.

“Because there are five windows, I thought of the five joyful mysteries. It had to be something with Mary and joyful because children are joyful. It’s also the story of the Lord’s childhood so (the students) can see themselves in them.” 

“I think the richness and the beauty of a chapel is very important because (many of) the children are very visual in how they learn,” said Cantwell, who remembers enjoying the beautiful windows in her own church growing up. She hopes that the new window will remind the children to give God the gift of being the most beautiful person spiritually that they can be.  

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016