One of the most distinctive architectural elements of St. Andrew Catholic Church is the etchings wall which divides the main nave of the Church from the Chapel (the western portion of the church that from above would be the top of the cross into which St. Andrew is shaped).
We present here a guide to the figures presented on the etchings wall. (Unless otherwise noted, the descriptions below are adapted from those provided at www.catholic.org/saints (as are most of the videos embedded below).
"Just before his Ascension, Jesus said these words to the Apostles: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you' (Acts 1:8). These words of Christ to the Apostles are also addressed to each believer. The Holy Spirit comes to us as a teacher of the meaning and depth of Revelation. He also fills us with power, the grace to understand the Church's teachings and the wisdom to see how they apply to our lives. Finally, the Spirit puts courage into our hearts so that we can witness what we believe..." (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, p. 130)
Angels are a pure spirit created by God. The Old Testament theology included the belief in angels: employed by god as the ministers of His will. The English word "angel" comes from the Greek angelos, which means 'messenger.' When we meet messengers doing supernatural things, there is no doubt they are heavenly beings - God's messengers, working for Him and for the ultimate benefit of mankind. (from catholic.org/saints/angels)
ST PETER, APOSTLE AND FIRST POPE
St. Andrew, his brother, introduced Simon to Jesus and in the Gospel of Luke Peter caught so many fish that he fell down before the feet of Jesus who told him, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." After Jesus' Ascension and the day of Pentecost, Peter was instrumental in bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, thereby permitting the new Church to become universal. Later imprisoned by King Herod Agrippa, he was aided in escape by an angel. In liturgical art, he is depicted as an elderly man holding a key and a book.
ST THOMAS MORE, MARTYR (Patron of Lawyers, feast day June 22)
St Thomas More was born in London in 1478, studied law at Oxford and by 1516 wrote his world-famous book "Utopia." King Henry VIII made him Lord Chancellor, among the highest offices, in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage. Two years later, he refused to accede to the King and was imprisoned. Fifteen months later, he was tried and convicted of treason. On the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as "the King's good servant - but God's first." He was beheaded on July 6, 1535.
ST PAUL, APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES (feast day June 29)
St. Paul was converted from Judaism on the road to Damascus. Paul immediately began preaching, first there in Damascus, then his native Tarsus, and on to Jerusalem and Antioch before making the first missionary journey traveling throughout Asia Minor and establishing many churches. After the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, Paul made two more missionary journeys and planned a fourth (establishing many churches) but persecutions by the Jews hindered him from more travels. After two years imprisoned at Caesarea, he spent two more in chains in Rome, at the end of which he was released, traveled a bit more, and then back to Rome, where he was imprisoned a second time and in the 67 was beheaded. St. Paul's untiring interest in and paternal affection for the churches he established have given us 14 canonical Epistles, in which St. Paul shows himself a profound religious thinker and has had an enduring formative influence on Christianity.
ST VINCENT DE PAUL (feast day September 27)
St. Vincent de Paul was born of poor parents in the village of Pouy in Gascony France about 1580. In 1605, on a voyage by sea from Marseilles to Narbonne, he fell into the hands of African pirates and was carried as a slave to Tunis. His captivity lasted about two years. In 1617, he began to preach missions, and in 1625, he lay the foundations of a congregation which afterward became the Congregation of the Mission of Lazarists. It would be impossible to list all the works of this servant of God. Charity was his predominant virtue, extending to all classes of persons, from forsaken childhood to old age. The Sisters of Charity owe their foundation to him. Known as the Apostle of Charity, he is the patron of charitable societies, including the one that serves the poor here at St. Andrew Church.
ST MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, MARTYR (feast day August 14)
St. Maximilian Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894 and became a Franciscan. Before his ordination as a priest, Maximilian founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to Our Lady, which became a community of 800 men, the largest in the world. In 1941 he was arrested by the Nazis (again) and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner's escape, ten men were chosen to die. Fr. Kolbe offered himself in the place of a young husband and father and was the last to die, enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect.
ST KATHARINE DREXEL, RELIGIOUS (feast day March 3)
St. Katharine Drexel was born in 1858 into a prominent Philadelphia family. Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of African Americans and Native Americans. Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Black and Native American peoples, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and fortune of 20 million dollars to this work. In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the first mission school for Indians in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1915 she also founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death there were more than 500 sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country. Because of her lifelong dedication to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John Paul II canonized her on October 1, 2000 to become only the second recognized American-born saint.
ST FRANCIS XAVIER (feast day December 3)
St. Francis Xavier was born in 1506. He met St. Ignatius Loyola in 1534 and became one of the seven men who founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). He was ordained in 1537, went to Rome in 1538, and in 1540, when the pope formally recognized the Society, was ordered to the Far East as the first Jesuit missionary. During the next decade he converted tens of thousands to Christianity. In 1552 he set out for China, landed on the island of Sancian within sight of his goal, but died before he reached the mainland. Working against great difficulties, he left the mark of his missionary zeal and energy on areas which clung to Christianity for centuries.
ST PATRICK (feast day March 17)
St. Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland. As a boy of 14 or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him. During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. Patrick's captivity lasted until he was 20, and when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain, where he reunited with his family. He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more." He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest and later a bishop; after that Patrick was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433. Patrick and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country.
ST NICHOLAS OF MYRA (feast day December 6)
St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra in the Fourth Century, was is today known as modern Turkey. He is said to have been born at Patara in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor. Myra, the capital, not far from the sea, found itself without a bishop and the holy Nicholas was chosen, and in that station became famous by his extraordinary piety and zeal and many astonishing miracles. In the later middle ages nearly 400 churches were dedicated in his honor in England alone; and he is said to have been represented by Christian artists more frequently than any other saint except our Blessed Mother. Through a legend associated with St. Nicholas, he became the patron of children and eventually of giving presents in his name at Christmas time. It was popularized by the Dutch Protestants of New Amsterdam who had converted the saint into a Nordic magician (Saint Nicholas = Sint Klaes = Santa Claus).
ST ANNE (feast day July 26)
St. Anne is known to us because she is the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. Anne and her husband, Joachim, loved God and prayed for a child. It seemed that God did not hear their prayers, because years went by and a child never came, but they kept praying. When it seemed that Anne was too old to have a child, God gave them one. They called their special child Mary, a name that means 'incense that rises up to God.' Anne's daughter became the woman who would be the mother of the Messiah. Anne was very proud of Jesus. As His grandmother, she often had the opportunity to hold Him and play with Him. Anne, whose name means 'full of grace,' was a holy woman who always prayed, even when it seemed useless to pray any longer.
ST TERESA OF CALCUTTA (feast day September 5)
Mother Teresa was born in Uskub, Ottoman Empire on August 26, 1910. Her birth name as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She joined the Sisters of Loreto at the age of 18 to become a missionary to India. She learned the local language, Bengali, and taught at the local school. She soon took her first vows as a nun and took the name Teresa. She would teach for many years in India becoming the headmistress at a school in eastern Calcutta. When she was 36 years old she felt the call from God to help the poor in India. She received some basic medical training and then set out to help the sick and needy. Soon other women joined her and she formed the Missionaries of Charity. The Missionaries of Charity originally had 13 members. Today they have over 4,000 nuns all over the world who care for people just like Mother Teresa. She worked almost until her death on September 5, 1997.
ST JOHN XXIII (feast day October 11)
Angelo Roncalli, born in 1881, as a teenager decided he wanted to be a priest. Over the course of his career, Fr. Angelo held many jobs. He served as a medical worker in battlefields during World War I, and he never forgot the suffering he witnessed there. He represented the church in mostly non-Catholic countries like Bulgaria and Turkey. Finally, at age 71, Fr. Angelo came home, becoming Archbishop of Venice, Italy. In 1958, Pope Pius XII died and much to everyone's surprise the Cardinals elected Angelo Roncalli at age 76. Most expected him to just 'hold the fort' until his death and a younger pope would be chosen. However, the Spirit was calling, and Pope John XXIII answered. The world had changed very rapidly. In the past, the church had a lot of power in the world; now, nations had much more power and were sometimes using that power to hurt people. John believed that the church needed a stronger voice to protect all people from war, violence, and poverty. There were new ways of thinking about the world, ways that had nothing to do with religion and the Bible. Many people had come to believe that the advanced of science made faith in God unnecessary. John saw much good in new scientific discoveries, but he also knew that without God we are lost. What John XXIII wanted was to open the church up to the world so that the church could spread the good news of Jesus' love in a way that made sense to people of the new century. As such, he called for what has become known as the Second Vatican Council, an Ecumenical Council of the Church in which all the bishops of the world come together to create documents to guide the Church. Much change came in the wake of Vatican II. While John XXIII didn't get to live to see the council completed, its legacy continues to this day. On April 27, 2014 Pope John XXIII became St. John XXIII when canonized by Pope Francis.
ST ELIZABETH ANN SETON (feast day January 4)
There was much joy in the United States in 1975, for that was the year when Elizabeth Ann Seton was declared a saint. She was the first saint to be born in the United States, but she was not born a Catholic. She was a convert. In New York, where she lived, she opened a boarding school for children. Her husband had died, and this was the only way she had to support herself and her children. In 1805, when Elizabeth became a Catholic, St. Peter's was the only Catholic Church in New York City. A priest encouraged Elizabeth to move to Baltimore and open a boarding school for Catholic girls, which she did. She and the women who helped run the new school wanted to become nuns, so they started their own congregation, called the Sisters of St. Joseph, in 1809. In 1813, the community became known as the Sisters of Charity and Elizabeth was elected superior.
ST CECILIA (feast day November 22)
Cecilia loved Jesus with all her heart, and wanted to spend her whole life serving God, but she lived in Rome during the time when Christians were persecuted. A young Roman nobleman wanted to marry her. When Cecilia said she belonged to God alone, the man and his brother forced her into marriage. As the young man walked angrily toward Cecilia, he saw her guardian angel standing at her side. At this sight, the young man and his brother both became believers in Jesus. Because of their love of Jesus, outlawed in the Roman Empire at the time, the Roman soldiers killed her husband, his brother, and their friend. Soon after, Cecilia was arrested and sentenced to death. She is the patron of music and musicians.
BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (feast day January 1)
Mary was an only child. She grew up loving God so very much. Out of all the women in history, God chose Mary to be the mother of His own Son, Jesus. When God's angel asked Mary if she would be the mother of Jesus, Mary answered yes. As His mother, she was with Jesus when He was born in a stable in Bethlehem; she found Him when He was lost in the Temple at Jerusalem; she was with Him when He died on the cross on Calvary; and she was in the upper room to welcome Him when He rose from the dead on Easter. In heaven, Mary was crowned because she was the mother of Jesus, the mother of all the saints, and the mother of the Church. That makes her our mother, too. Whenever we pray to Mary, we may call her mother, or Blessed Mother.
ST JOHN THE APOSTLE (feast day December 27)
St. John was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman, and Salome. Brother of St. James the Great, and called one of the Sons of Thunder. St. John was a disciple of John the Baptist and friend of St. Peter the Apostle. He was called by Jesus during the first year of His ministry and traveled everywhere with Him, becoming so close as to be known as 'the beloved disciple.' St. John took part in the Last Supper. St. John was the only one of the twelve disciples not to forsake Jesus in the hour of His passion, standing at the foot of the cross [where he is placed on our etching wall]. Made guardian of Our Lady by Jesus, St. John took her into his home. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the Lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize him. He is the author of the fourth Gospel as well as three epistles and the Book of Revelation.
ST JOSEPH (feast day March 19)
St. Joseph, the pure spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of our Blessed Lord, was descended from the royal house of David. He is the "just man" of the New Testament, the lowly village carpenter of Nazareth, who among all men of the world as the one chosen by God to be the husband and protector of the Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate. To his faithful, loving care was entrusted the childhood and youth of the Redeemer of the world. After the Mother of God, not one of the children of men was ever so gifted and adorned with natural and supernatural humility, patience, fortitude, and gentleness; he reveals to us the perfect type and model of the true Christian. Poor and obscure in this world's possessions and honors, he was rich in grace and merit and eminent before God in the nobility and beauty of holiness. On December 8, 1870, Pope Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the foster father of Jesus as Patron of the Universal Church. Besides that feast of March 19, there is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (on May 1). From his throne of glory in heaven, St. Joseph watches over and protects the Church, and no one who calls on him in need ever calls in vain. He is the model of a perfect Christian life and the patron of a happy death.
BOTTEM ROW OF ETCHINGS
Christian tradition has long connected the authors of the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) with the four "living creatures" that surround God's throne, as in the vision of St. John in the Book of Revelation (4:6-7). The four writers depicted in symbolic forms surrounding the Lamb of God: Matthew by the winged man, Mark by the winged lion, Luke by the winged ox, and John by the eagle.
ST MATTHEW, APOSTLE AND MARTYR (winged man)
St. Matthew is called the divine man, since he teaches about the human nature of Christ and his Gospel begins with Jesus' paternal genealogy.
ST MARK, MARTYR (winged lion)
St. Mark is called the winged lion since he informs us of the royal dignity of Christ and his Gospel begins with "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness," suggesting the roar of the lion.
ST LUKE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR (winged ox)
St. Luke is called the winged ox since he deals with the sacrificial aspects of Christ's life and his Gospel begins with a scene in the temple.
ST JOHN, APOSTLE (eagle)
St. John is called the rising eagle since his gaze pierces so far into the mysteries of Heaven and his Gospel begins with a lofty prologue that is a poem of the Word become flesh.