Archangels Raphael, Michael and Gabriel look over the congregation at Our Lady of Grace. photo by Raquel Hendrickson

All but one stained-glass window have been placed in the Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, each window hand-crafted and designed by the parish’s former priest, the Rev. Marcos Velásquez, architect Steven Schloeder and primary artist Andrea Guzetta.

“The methods and materials used are the same that have been in use for hundreds of years,” said Ken Lepper, who chaired the church’s Construction and Design Oversight Committee. “The glass comes from a factory in Germany. There are over 25 windows with scenes from the Bible and saints.”

All the glass was paid for by parishioners. The second window placed, a portrait of St. Mark, was sponsored by a family to honor Velásquez. Rita and Anthony Magliocco sponsored portraits of St. Rita and St. Anthony.

The stained glass is created by the artist through a series of painting and firings in an old technique used throughout Europe and the U.S. East Coast. Each window at Our Lady was pre-assigned a saint.

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio

Figures range from archangels before the creation of the universe to St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, a child who was martyred just 100 years ago in Mexico.

The windows are called 50-year windows for the length of time they are expected to keep their vibrant colors. They are protected from the elements outside by double-pane glass and glare filters.

Judson Studios is a fifth-generation American stained-glass window studio in California. After the design is completed and approved, the artist moves forward with a full-sized print she uses to cut each piece of glass like a jig-saw puzzle. Glaziers then add lead seams, frame and braces.

Courtesy of Judson Studios

“All the glass has strong symbology in it that is consistent with Catholic and Christian,” Lepper said. “Some of it, you have to look really hard to find them; some they’re really obvious.”

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.