So my new adopted parish of St. Sebastian’s in Woodside now has a blogging pastor. Msgr. Michael Hardiman is a great preacher and has great thoughts. He told me it was his “Lenten penance” to blog. Well if this is penance then the rest of us should benefit mightily from his blog.
Here’s a piece of my favorite post thus far:
When I came to St. Sebastian in June 2002 I found this incredibly prescient stained glass window. It represents Our Lady of Woodside with the newly canonized Pope Saint Pius X and Asians, Africans, Europeans, and Native Americans all united under her mantle. In 1955 when the church opened, only the European Immigrants would have been in the mind of any artist other than one guided by the Holy Spirit. Today, the images on the glass depict the Woodside community and the parish of St. Sebastian.
Indeed this is true. Woodside has been a predominently Irish area (and still has a significant amount of Irish immigrants living there). In the 1930s reportedly 80% of the Woodside residents were Irish. Even today, by reputation the neighborhood is known as an Irish one but in essence the neighborhood is multi-ethnic including 30% of its population being of Asian descent.
The artist who created this window either had great foresight or was extremely sensitive to possible insensitivities of the day. One can only wonder if this stain glass portrait was looked down upon by people when it went up–or if it really spoke to them in ways that got beyond the racial prejudices of the 1950s? Since it still exists today, I would think that most people realized that our God is for everyone and that Mary treats us all with the same care despite the color of our skin.
You can read more from Msgr. Hardiman here.