Priest creates windows to uplift the mind

Jun 3, 2021
Father Waldemar (Val) Maciag elevates the art at St. Lawrence Parish in Bushnell. Working on a budget, he is constructing “stained-glass” style windows. The first 12 are complete. (COURTESY)

BUSHNELL | Parochial administrator of St. Lawrence Parish in Bushnell, Father Waldemar (Val) Maciag, designed and built artistic arched frames simulating rose windows “to uplift the mind to the spiritual.” Over the years, his artistic talents graced parish walls through painted Stations of the Cross and a “God Bless America niche” dedicated to veterans, as the parish serves the nearby Florida National Cemetery. It was now time to elevate the décor further to match the sacredness of the space.

Father Maciag has a master’s degree in liturgy and notes its beauty “is part of the mystery; it is a sublime expression of God’s glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth.” He wished to enhance that view through the windows. Having visited hundreds of rural churches in his homeland of Poland, he said he “always loved them, admired their artistic, unique design; they seemed to be inseparable from the church.” He missed them. Those windows were his first “biblical slide shows”, his first “biblical movies in color”, his first “theological books for children.” He set out to do something similar, on a budget.

In what he defines as a “celestial twist” and understanding the biblical scenes would be near impossible, he thought of the rose windows – a special artistic element of many old churches. Reproducing the classic arched Gothic shape, he made lightweight, wooden frames, designed two patterns, and then made a print of them onto a shining fabric. Finally, he stretched the material like a canvas across the frames. So far there are 12 windows, which are removable to facilitate cleaning when necessary.

“Beauty is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action since it is an attribute of God and His revelation,” Father Maciag said.

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic, June 3, 2021