St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Hockessin dedicated its 12 new stained-glass windows on Sept. 17, completing a project that had been a longtime ambition. The most current effort to get the windows lasted for four years. Bishop Malooly celebrated 9:30 a.m. Mass with the pastor, Father Charles Dillingham.
Seven of the 12 windows present different images from the life of Mary. The most prominent of those is the Assumption. That window has been placed in the choirloft at the main entrance.
Other events depicted in the windows include the Annunciation, the visitation, the Nativity, the presentation of Christ in the temple, the finding of Jesus in the Temple, and the wedding feast at Cana. Two other windows honor St. John the Evangelist and St. Patrick, the names of two of the five churches that had served the parish since its founding. One of those is surrounded by smaller windows depicting the sacraments “because the grace from the sacraments flow from the church,” Father Dillingham said.
“We wanted to honor the history of our church,” he added. “We’re 242 years old. Our first two churches were log cabin churches. They were down on Lancaster Pike.”
Stained glass was not included in the current church, opened in 1965, because of finances. The old windows were not energy-efficient, and the Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign allowed the parish to replace them with the stained glass.
The old windows were single-pane with basic metal framing.
“In the winter time, if you stood next to them, you could feel the breeze. We have noticed much better efficiency with our air conditioning and our heating,” the pastor said.
The project was made possible by the diocesan fundraising campaign Sustaining Hope for the Future. Father Dillingham said the original fundraising goal was $1.2 million, but parishioners pledged a half million dollars more than that, allowing for some enhancements. Father Dillingham, who has headed the parish for eight years, had high praise for the members of his congregation and for the diocese.
“Thanks to the diocese, this was a very organized campaign, and we had a wonderful Sustaining Hope committee,” he said.
The group first met about four years ago, and “no one knew quite what to do because we had zero experience.” They selected a vendor, Rohlf’s Stained & Leaded Glass Studio of Mount Vernon, N.Y., and worked primarily with artist Franz Schroeder. In Delaware, local artist Matt Terranova served on the parish committee to advise its members.
Father Dillingham said Rohlf Studio captured what the parish was looking for. Schroeder, he said, “captured the image but still had a contemporary look to it. I think we exceeded all of our dreams.”