Four Marks of the Church
There are four symbols in our Narthex in the arched area above the windows as you look toward the Nave. They are the four marks of the Church. The four marks of the Church are UNA (One), SANCTA (Holy), CATHOLICA (Catholic/Universal), and APOSTOLICA (Apostolic).
In the Apostles Creed we say, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints.” Exactly, what does that mean?
- The sole Church of Christ subsists in the CATHOLIC Church.
- The Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. These are known as the FOUR MARKS OF THE CHURCH.
- The Church is One because her source is the three Divine Persons in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Flowing from this one source is the unity of One Faith, One Baptism, One Sacrifice, and the same Sacraments.
- The Church is Holy because Christ, as the Head of His Mystical Body the Church, has made the Church holy through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- The Church is Catholic or universal because Christ has given the Church the fullness of the means of Salvation: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. The Church is also catholic and universal because her mission is to preach the Gospel to the entire world.
- The Church is Apostolic because the Church contains the mission of the Apostles, and continues to teach what the Apostles taught, and continues to be taught, guided and sanctified by the Apostles from heaven.
- The Head of the Church is her founder, Jesus Christ.
- Christ appointed Saint Peter as the first visible head of the Church.
- The POPE is the successor of Saint Peter as Bishop of Rome and is the visible head of the Church on earth. One of the Pope’s titles is: HOLY FATHER.
- The Pope and the Bishops in union with the Pope are the lawful successors of the Apostles deriving from Christ the power to teach, to sanctify and to govern the faithful in spiritual matters. (AUTHORITY)
- The Church cannot err when teaching on faith or morals. (INFALLIBILITY)
- The Pope is infallible; when as the successor of Saint Peter, he solemnly defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals.
- The Church as Christ founded her will last until the end of time. (INDEFECTABILITY)
- After death, those who have died in God’s grace and friendship, but are not perfectly purified, undergo a final purification before they come to the glory of heaven. This purification is called PURGATORY.
- The baptized faithful on earth (who are in the state of grace), the souls in purgatory and the saints and angels in heaven are in COMMUNION with each other, united together with Christ. This communion is called the COMMUNION OF SAINTS.
- We honor the saints in heaven when we ask them to pray and intercede for us.
- We can assist the souls in purgatory by our prayers, fasting, and good works.
- We can pray for one another on earth and assist each other by performing the SPIRITUAL and CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY.
ROSE WINDOW – ST. HELENA
The center circle of our Rose Window depicts Saint Helena with the Cross on which Our Divine Savior was crucified. Located on the lower right side of her is a Lily symbolizing purity and eternal life, and on the left side of her is a depiction of our church.
The lily also symbolizes virginity. It reminds us that our Lord was conceived of a sinless, undefiled Virgin.
The symbols in the outer leaf of the Rose Window starting with the Lamb and continuing clockwise in the direction of the Escallop symbol are:
Agnes Dei with the Banner
Lamb – Symbolizes Jesus
Banner – Christ’s Victory
– Symbolizes our sin and the sacrifice of the Lamb on Calvary Who was victorious
Chi Rho with the Shepherd Staff
– Chi Rho is a Greek abbreviation for the word Christ
– Shepherd Staff refers to Christ the Good Shepherd
– Symbol of the Savior’s power to heal the diseases of our bodies and souls
-Rock with the Cross
– the Rock with the Cross symbolizes the Rock of our Salvation
– Jesus Christ
Chalice and Cross
– Refers to the Savior’s prayer in Gethsemane concerning the cup of suffering
Crown with the Book of Scripture
– refers to the Sovereignty & Victory and Our Lord’s Kingly Office
-The escallop shell with dripping water from it is a symbol of Baptism
- At the very top of the Reredos is Saint Helena. Below her are two Jesuits (black cassock and white surplice). They are St. Aloysius Gonzaga (crucifix in hand) and St. Stanislaus Kostka (holding the Christ Child). At the bottom of the Reredos is Saint Peter (keys in his hand) and Saint Paul (holding a two edged sword). The centerpiece of the Reredos is the Crucified Christ. The other four smaller statues are angels.
Below is a short history of each of the Saints. For more information on them, you can check “Lives of the Saints” by Butler.
ST. HELENA – August 18
She was born about the year 250, only daughter of Coel, a British king. She married Constantius Chlorus, a pagan. They had a happy marriage for 20 years. They had one son, Constantine. In 293 there were two Emperors, Diocletian and Maximian Herculeus and they resolved to associate with themselves two Caesars to assist in their wars. Maximian chose Constantius on the condition he would divorce his wife and marry Theodora, the widow of Maximian’s son. He did so. At the death of Constantius in 306, his son Constantine was immediately selected Emperor by the Army. He named his mother, Helena, Empress. She was over sixty years old when she became a Christian. In the year 326 she went in search of the True Cross and found it.
ST. ALOYSIUS GONZAGA – June 21
When he was 9 years old, he made a vow of perpetual virginity. His mother rejoiced on learning of his determination to become a religious, but his father refused his consent for 3 years. At age 17, he entered the Jesuit novitiate. During his last year of theology, a malignant fever broke out in Rome. Thousands were dying. Aloysius volunteered to work at the hospital for the poor. He died within a week. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.
ST. STANISLAUS KOSTKA – November 13
He was the son of a Senator in the Kingdom of Poland. His mother was related to Duke Palatine of Masovia. Burning with the love of God and Our Lady, he decreed to enter the Society of Jesus. They hesitated to receive him in Vienna, fearing trouble from his father. He went to Rome. He entered the novitiate. His life there was a model and mirror of religious perfection. He died in his 18th year while praying. He is one of the favorite Saints of Poland. He was canonized in 1726.
ST. PETER, APOSTLE – June 29
He was the first Pope. He was a fisherman. He was crucified upside down. He is buried in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
ST. PAUL, APOSTLE – June 30
He was the Apostle to the Gentiles. He wrote the Epistles. He was a tentmaker and a Roman citizen. He was beheaded. He is buried in the Church of St. Paul’s outside the Walls, Rome.
ARTWORK ON FRONT OF ALTAR
For the first three centuries, Christianity had been against Roman law. It was an offense to be a Christian, punishable by death. That is why there were so many martyrs in those early years. At that time Masses were said in hiding. Often time they were in catacombs. Catacombs were burial places and Mass was often celebrated there at the tomb of martyrs. Once the Edict of Milan became law in 313 A.D., Christianity and the Mass no longer needed to remain underground, figuratively or literally. After this time it became “custom” to place relics in altars.
The following are the saints whose relics are in our altar. All of our relics are first class relics, that is, part of the saint, e.g., bone.
RELICS Deposited in Saint Helena’s Main Altar
ST. PETER, APOSTLE – June 29 He was the first Pope. He was a fisherman. He was crucified upside down. He is buried in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
ST. PAUL, APOSTLE – June 30 He was the Apostle to the Gentiles. He was a tent maker and Roman citizen. He was beheaded. He is buried in the Church of St. Paul’s outside the Walls, Rome.
ST. ANDREW, APOSTLE – November 30 He was the brother of St. Peter. He was a fisherman. He introduced his brother to Jesus. He was crucified for the Faith at Patros in Greece in the year 60 A.D.
ST. JAMES THE GREATER, APOSTLE – July 25 He was the son of Zebedee and brother of St. John the Evangelist. He was a fisherman. He was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa in 43 A.D.
ST. JOHN, EVANGELIST AND APOSTLE – December 27 He was a fisherman. He has been called the beloved disciple. He was a son of Zebedee and brother of St. James the Greater. He was at the foot of the Cross. He did not die a martyr’s death. He wrote the Gospel of John.
ST. JUDE THADDEUS, APOSTLE – October 28 He was a writer of one of the Catholic Epistles. He went through Mesopotamia preaching the Gospel. He was martyred for the faith.
ST. JUSTIN, MARTYR – June 1 He was raised by his father in paganism. One day he met an old man by the sea who told him the truths of the faith. Upon further inquiry, he embraced the faith in 130 A.D. He is one of the most ancient Fathers of the Church, who left many valuable writings. He died a martyred death by being scourged and beheaded.
ST. THERESA OF THE CHILD JESUS – October 3 She was the youngest of nine children. She embraced the religious life by entering the Carmel of Lisieux. Her soul bloomed with the flowers of every virtue. Rapt in ecstasy, and frequently repeating the words, “My God, I love Thee”, she went to God at the age of 24. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925. She is the Patron of all the missions.
ST. AGATHA, MARTYR – February 5 She was born of a rich, illustrious family. She consecrated her heart to God from early youth. She died for love of chastity in the year 251 under the persecution of Dicius at Catanic, Sicily.
ST. MARIA GORETTI, MARTYR – July 9 She was born in Corinaldo, Italy in 1890. Her parents were very poor sharecroppers who lived on the Pontine Marshes. Her mother taught her to love God whole-heartedly and to hate sin. She would rather die than commit sin was her simple rule of life. She constantly rebuffed the unchaste advances of a 19 year old and suffered martyrdom at his hands. He stabbed her to death. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950. Her mother was present for the ceremony.
ST. STANISLAUS KOSTKA – November 13 He was the son of a Senator in the Kingdom of Poland. His mother was related to Duke Palatine of Masovia. Burning with the love of God and Our Lady, he decided to enter the Society of Jesus. They hesitated to receive him in Vienna, fearing trouble from his father. He went to Rome. He entered the novitiate. His life there was a model and mirror of religious perfection. He died in his 18th year while praying. He is one of the favorite Saints of Poland. He was canonized in 1726.
ST. JOHN NEUMANN – January 5 He was a missionary from Bohemia. He was known for his holiness and learning. He was a promoter of parochial schools. He authored two German catechisms. He was a Bishop of Philadelphia and died here in 1860. He is the first American Bishop canonized (1977).
ST. FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI – December 22 She was born in Lodi, Italy in 1850 and died in Chicago, Illinois, December 22, 1917. The Bishop of Lodi knew she wanted to be a religious and a missionary, so he said to her, I do not know of any such institute for women. Find one yourself. Within her lifetime she founded 67 houses, including orphanages, hospitals, and schools. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1946.
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON – January 4 She was born in 1774 of a wealthy and distinguished Episcopalian Family in New York. Married William Seton in 1794 and reared five children. She took her sick husband to Italy and became acquainted with Catholicism in 1805 and converted. In 1808 she established a religious community in Emmitsburg, MD. She died in 1821 having seen her community of teaching sisters grow. She was canonized in 1975.
Blessed Virgin Mary
a. Mary, Mother of God – January 1
b. Annunciation – March 25
c. Assumption – August 15
d. Birthday – September 8
e. Our Lady of Sorrow – September 15
f. Immaculate Conception – December 8
↑DESCRIPTION OF SLIDESHOW PICTURES↑
╬ AMBRY: It is the vessel that houses the Holy Oils. In our Church it is on the Saint Joseph side near where the Cross bearer places the Processional Cross. Two of the Holy Oils are blessed by the Ordinary of the Archdiocese on Holy Thursday. They are the Oil of the Catechumen used in Baptism, and the Oil of the Sick used in the Anointing of the Sick. The other Holy Oil is consecrated by the Ordinary on Holy Thursday and is called Sacred Chrism. It is used for Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders.
╬ PULPIT: It is also called an Ambo. It is the place where the Sacred Scriptures are proclaimed, the Homily preached, and General Intercessions are said.
╬ PRESIDER CHAIR: The Chair symbolizes the authority of the Presider as the Throne in the Cathedral symbolizes the Ordinary’s authority, as teacher of the faith.
╬ TABERNACLE: It houses the Most Holy Eucharist which is truly Jesus Christ, Our Savior.
╬ SANCTUARY LIGHT: It is the lighted candle in a red globe that burns when the Eucharist is in the Tabernacle. “I am the Light of the World.”
╬ BAPTISMAL FONT: It is where new life is given in the Sacrament of Baptism. The top of our Font has the image of St. John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.
╬ ANGEL HOLY WATER FONTS: They are at every entrance of the Church as a reminder of our Baptism.
╬ THE FOUR CONSECRATION CANDLES: They symbolize that the Church has been “Baptized and Confirmed”, that is, dedicated to the greater honor and glory of God. It was Cardinal Rigali who dedicated and consecrated our Church in October 2004.
╬ STATIONS OF THE CROSS: They are events in the Passion and Death of our Savior Jesus Christ.
╬ PASCHAL CANDLE: It symbolizes Christ our Light. It is used at Baptisms, Funerals, and during the Easter Season.
Ladder & Stars – Jacob’s ladder. 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel
Ark – Noah & the flood
Altar/Lamb/Knife – Abraham’s Sacrifice. Obedience to God.
Burning Bush – Moses
Six Pointed Star – House of David, Jesus’ ancestry
Fleur de Lis – Purity of Mary
IHS – Jesus
Anchor – Christ is our anchor/Hope.
Alpha – First letter of the Greek Alphabet. Jesus is at the beginning.
Omega – Last letter of the Greek Alphabet. Jesus is at the end.
Crown and Scepter – Christ the King
Dove – Holy Spirit
Star (5 Point Star) – Christmas Rose /Star the Magi followed
Maria Regina– Mary Queen of Heaven
Messianic Rose – Isaiah’s prophesy that a rose will bloom in the desert
Lamb of God – Sacrifice of Christ
Book of God – In the apocalypse
Hand – Hand of God the Father/Divine Providence
Veil – St.Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Garment/Dice – Soldiers gambled for Jesus’ garment
Crown of Thorns/Nails – Instruments of torture
Spear – Pierced the side of Christ
Hyssop – Offered Jesus sour wine
INRI – Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews
3 Crosses/Mount – Calvary, depiction of the three crosses
Chalice & Host – Eucharist/ Christ’s unbloody sacrifice of His Body and Blood
Pomegranate – Bursting with seeds/ Symbol of the Resurrection
Trifoil/Triangle – Trinity,One God in three Divine Persons
Dove – Holy Spirit
Bird Out Of Fire – Phoenix/ Symbol of Resurrection
Pelican Feeding Her Young – Symbol of the Eucharist/ Christ total giving of Self
Cross – Sacrifice of Christ
Rainbow – God’s covenant with Noah
Cross/Rainbow – New life in Christ
Hand – God the Father/ Divine Providence
MURALS OVER MAJOR STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
Saint Stained Glass Windows
The Saint stained glass windows in our Church are beautiful, but the lives of these individuals are even more beautiful. Below is a short history on these Saints. For more information on their lives, check “Lives of the Saints” by Butler.
╬ ST. JOHN NEUMAN – January
He was a missionary from Bohemia. He was known for his holiness and learning. He was a promoter of parochial schools. He authored two German Catechisms. He was a Bishop of Philadelphia and died here in 1860. He is the first American Bishop canonized (1977).
╬ ST. CATHERINE DREXEL – March 3
She was born into a wealthy Philadelphia family. As a young woman, she became aware of the suffering of Native Americans. She began using money from her inheritance to establish schools. She expanded her efforts to include African Americans. She founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and guided the order for 44 years. She was canonized in 2000.
╬ ST. FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI – December 22
She was born in Lodi, Italy in 1850 and died in Chicago, Illinois on December 22, 1917. The Bishop of Lodi knew she wanted to be a religious and a missionary, so he said to her, I do not know of any such institute for women. At the request of her Bishop, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Within her lifetime she founded 67 houses, including orphanages, hospitals and schools. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1946.
╬ ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON – January 4
She was born in 1774 of a wealthy and distinguished Episcopalian family in New York. She married William Seton in 1794 and reared five children. She took her sick husband to Italy and became acquainted with Catholicism in 1805 and converted. In 1808 she established her first Catholic school in Baltimore. In 1809 she established a religious community in Emmitsburg, MD. She died in 1821 having seen her community of teaching sisters grow.
╬ ST. ISAAC JOGUES AND COMPANIONS – September 26
He was a Jesuit who was sent to the New World. He was appointed to the Huron Missions. After many years of work among the Hurons, St. Isaac Joques was journeying with two companions between Montreal and Three Rivers and they were captured by the Iroquois. He was tortured but escaped. He returned to France and after a rest returned to Canada. He suffered martyrdom for the Faith near Auriesville, NY in 1646. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1936.
╬ BLESSED KATERI TEKAKWITHA – July 14th
Daughter of a Christian Algonquin woman captured by Iroquois and married to a non-Christian Mohawk chief. She was orphaned during a smallpox epidemic, converted andin 1676. She was shunned by relatives for her faith. She took a vow of chastity in 1679 and was known for her spirituality and austere lifestyle. She was called the “Lily of the Mohawks”.
╬ ST. JUAN DIEGO – December 9
On his way to Mass, he heard a voice calling him by name. He saw a young Indian Maiden who instructed him to go to the Bishop and tell him to construct a church on this hill. Juan, a Christian Indian, did as he was told, but the Bishop paid him no attention. At his third audience with the Bishop the roses in his tilma, cape, mysteriously had a full color image of Our Lady. Within six years of the apparition, nine million Aztecs were baptized.
╬ VENERABLE PIERRE TOUSSAINT
He was born into slavery in Haiti. His master, Jean Berard, encouraged him to learn to read and write. He was a house slave. His mom and grandmom were devout Catholics. Jean Berard moved his wife to NY along with several slaves. Pierre became a hairdresser and his wealthy customers supported him in his charitable works. He became a free person, and at age 41 married Juliette Noel. He continued his charitable deeds throughout his life. He died in 1853.
Stained Glass Over Interior Doors
ST. THERESA LITTLE FLOWER – OCTOBER 3 – She was the youngest of 9 children. She embraced the religious life by entering the Carmel of Lisieux where her soul bloomed with the flowers of every virtue. Rapt in ecstasy and frequently repeating the words, “My God, I love thee”, she went to God at the age of 24. St. Theresa was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925. She is the Patron of all the missions.
There are four representations and symbols of the Evangelists in the archways as you leave the Nave to go into the Narthex. The four Evangelists are St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John.
The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament which hand on the ultimate truth of God’s Revelation. Their central object is Jesus Christ, God’s Incarnate Son: His acts, teachings, Passion and Glorification, and His Church’s beginnings under the Spirit’s guidance.
The Gospels are the heart of all the Scriptures because they are our principal source of the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, our Savior. (Cont’d after pictures)
We can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels:
- The Life and Teachings of Jesus – The Church holds firmly that the four Gospels faithfully hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, really did and taught for our eternal salvation.
- The Oral Tradition – After the Ascension, the Apostles handed on to their hearers what Jesus had said and done with the fullest understanding they now enjoyed, instructed by the glorious events of Christ and enlightened by the Spirit.
- The Written Gospels – The sacred authors in writing the four Gospels selected certain of the many elements which had been handed on, either orally or already in written form; others they synthesized or explained with an eye to the situation of the Churches, while sustaining the form of preaching, but always in such a fashion that they have told us the honest truth about Jesus.
The fourfold Gospel holds a unique place in the Church, as is evident in the veneration which the liturgy accords it—caring the Book of the Gospels.
St. Caesaria the Younger wrote to St. Richildis and St. Radegunde saying “There is no doctrine which could be better, more precious and more splendid than the text of the Gospel.” St. Theresa of Lisieux said “But above all it’s the Gospels that occupy my mind when I’m at prayer. I always find fresh lights there, hidden and enthralling meanings.”
The four Gospels occupy a central place because Christ Jesus is their center. The reason for the representations of the four Evangelists, under the archways as you leave, is to remind us that we are to take God’s Word with us into the world.