Our church art pieces.
The artwork in St. Martin’s is in the form of stained-glass windows, Stations of the Cross bronzes, frescoes, and mosaic tile. All of it is designed to enhance the worship experience of those who attend our parish.
Much of the artwork has been created by the esteemed artist Brother Mel Meyer at the Marianist Art Gallery which is part of Vianney High School in St. Louis, MO.
This tall window’s theme is based upon the Apostles’ Creed (as is the fresco in the ceiling of the Chapel) and emphasizes Jesus’ humanity.
The 12 Panels of the Window Represent
East & West Windows
The round window high in the west wall (installed in 1987) symbolizes the New Testament Resurrection of Christ. The resurrection is suggested by the streamers (joy) which also forms a flower; and a wafer, suggesting our weekly receiving of the body of the Risen Christ.
The round window high in the east wall (also installed in 1987) depicts the Old Testament Resurrection … the crossing of the Red Sea. Deep colors were an important part of this window (in order to shield the congregation from the strong light which comes through this window during the morning hours).
Chapel, Cross and Fresco
The Tau Cross was installed in the Chapel in 1970 and closely resembles the cross on which our Lord was actually crucified. It was given in memory of Dan Irvine, son of Kate and Bill Irvine. Dan, one of St. Martin’s original acolytes, drowned just after his graduation from LaFayette High School. The processional cross (also a Tau Cross) was given in memory of Michael Rowley who died of cancer while a sophomore at LaFayette.
The processional cross was incorporated into the Chapel Tau Cross since both boys knew each other. The Chapel Cross has three fresco panels. The bottom one, suggestive of water and the prow of a ship, refers to the beginning of life, birth, and baptism. The middle panel depicts a tree, since the original church was built around a tree. This speaks to growing up strong and tall in life. Finally, the top panel, flames, suggests the Holy Spirit’s ability to help us give light, warmth and love in this life.
This fresco, located in the ceiling of the Chapel, is based on the Apostles’ Creed … the Church’s doctrinal framework is based upon this creed. The center section of the Fresco refers to the first or “God” section of the creed. The three hands stress God’s triune nature and creative function – “I believe in God, the Father almighty….” The colors in between the hands suggest that all of life – brown earth, blue sky, etc. stems from God “… maker of Heaven and earth.”. The spokes refer to all aspects of life, all that has been created by God “… and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.” The second section of the creed is represented by the hand that points to the cross … referring to Jesus, “… conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary” – the Dove’s beak is touching an “M” on the right top of the cross. “… suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified dead and buried.” – the Crown and the five red dots signifying Christ’s five wounds. “He descended to the dead … He ascended into heaven” – the two arrows, one pointing down, the other up. The third section of the creed is depicted on the lower perimeter of the Fresco: The dove – “I believe in the Holy Spirit;” The heads of the people – “The holy catholic Church, the communion of saints;” The waves – “forgiveness of sins;” And the Arrow encompassing a green figure – “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
The McCann Window
This window is a free form based on the Bible verse: “Jesus – the light of the world.” It is located in the side Chapel wall and replaces the window that was in the same location when the original Church building stood alone. When Packwood Hall was added to connect the main Church building with the Laird Educational building, the window was removed and a plaster wall erected in its place. This window now restores some of the original feeling to the chapel.
The clerestory windows face the altar and can be seen from the pulpit, altar, choir loft and side pews.
Twelve of the fifteen windows represent each of Christ’s Apostles: Thomas, Phillip, James the Greater, Bartholemew, Andrew, Peter, John, Thaddeus, Simon, Matthias, Matthew and James the Lesser.
The last three windows represent the three Cardinal virtues: faith, hope and love.
Mosaic Tile Project
Originally there was a round, plain circle on the outside of the parish hall wall in the parking lot that mirrored (and therefore balanced) the western stained glass window in the Nave of the church. When the parish hall was designed, it was felt that at some point in the future, this circle would be more fully developed. Mary Drastal and Karen Figuroa (Senior High Leaders) worked with Carrie Kruger (who designed the mosaic) and 13 other members of the Senior High Youth for five years creating the mosaic to be installed in this plain circle. Many adults were also involved in the project.
The finished mosaic contains a cross made from small dark blue tile squares, cinnamon colored plates which contain the hand prints of both the youth and adults of the church (symbolizing how individuals give of themselves), and the light blue tiles that surround the cross and has the inscription “A life without cause is a life without effect” inscribed upon the surface. Beneath this inscription are the words help, contribute, restore, ease, support, serve, comfort, aid, strengthen, and heal to remind us of our obligations as Christians. The completed mosaic was installed in July 2005.
Narthex Stained Glass Hangings
Mary Drastal and Karen Figuora asked each of the Sunday school classes to draw the religious objects/images that were important to them. Mary then compiled all of the images and combined the various ideas into three stained glass windows. Ten students in the Senior High Youth Group then took those designs, cut the glass, soldered the pieces together, framed them, and then hung the resulting stained glass panels in the narthex in front of the east windows.
The first panel of the stained glass window depicts the Cross, the sun, fire (flames) and water. The theme of water is carried through to the other two panels.
The middle panel of the stained glass window is a representation of the Tree of Life.
The right panel of the stained glass window represents the Holy Spirit (the dove), and the Fire (flames) of Pentecost.
The "Tree of Life" Mural
The “Tree of Life” is a mural designed to illustrate God’s creation. Painted on eight canvases, the mural began by creating the tree, and thereafter adding various birds and animals, finishing with the leaves. Located at the entrance to the Sunday School classrooms, the mural causes one to pause and meditate on God’s creatures and all of creation.
This mural was designed and created by Mary Drastal and Ellie Ecker. The “Tree of Life” mural was dedicated in November 2012.