Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Redemptorist Catholic Church
3333 Broadway Kansas City, Missouri 64111
Parish office (816) 561-3771
This beautiful and impressive church has twenty-nine very large stained-glass windows around the altar and along both sides of the nave.There are 22 additional smaller stained-glass windows featuring stylized angels in the clerestory.
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I had great difficulty getting photographs of some of the windows on the days I visited this church. In some cases, very little light was coming through or shadows were blocking out important parts of the window imagery. I intend to return and hope to be able to improve some of these images. I hope you enjoy what I am able to present here. Often you will see a large image of the entire window (or most of it) and one or two more detailed images from these beautiful and inspired stained-glass creations.
Some History of the Redemptorist Church
In 1878 missionary Redemptorist priests settled between the frontier towns of Westport and Kansas City and, after building a mission house for the Redemptorist priests, brothers, and seminarians, they traveled throughout the newly settled towns of the Midwest preaching sermons. Neighboring Catholics soon began worshiping with the priests and brothers at the mission house chapel, and in 1888 the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was established. Local people were so accustomed to calling their chapel Redemptorist, that the popular name has prevailed even to the present day.
Within a few years the congregation outgrew the missionary chapel.
In 1893 the parishioners built a Gothic style church seating 400 people. Within fifteen years that church could not accommodate the influx of people settling between Westport and Kansas City, and the architecture firm of Wilder and Wight was hired to design a much larger French Gothic church. Ground was broken for the new church on June 21, 1908, and the Church was dedicated on May 12, 1912.
Stained-Glass Windows in Redemptorist Church
The original Sanctuary windows, depicting various Marian themes, were installed in 1915. Between 1925 and 1828 twenty more Bavarian Memorial art glass windows were placed in the nave and two in the clerestory above the transept altars. These windows were created by the Emil Frei Fine Art Glass Company of Munich and St. Louis. The angel windows that line the rest of the clerestory were added in the 1940’s and were also created by the Emil Frei Fine Art Glass Company of St. Louis. (For more about the Emil Frei Fine Art Glass Company, follow the link to their informative web site.)
The Clerestory Windows over the Sanctuary
- Crowning of Mary, Queen of Saints & Angels
- The three Marys at the foot of the cross
- The Wedding feast of Cana
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help
- Adoration of the Magi
- Annunciation of the Birth of Christ
- Adam and Eve before the Lord after their sin
Crowning of Mary, Queen of Angels and Saints
Christ, accompanied by God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, places a crown on the head of Mary as the Queen of Heaven. (Rev 12:1) The Crowning of Mary is the fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary and is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church every August 22.
The Three Marys at the Foot of the Cross
Scriptural sources are a bit confusing regarding the identities of the Three Marys at the Foot of the Cross. John (19:25) identifies them as Mary, Jesus’ mother; Mary Magdalene, who was healed by Jesus, then supported His ministry, and was the first person to see Him after His resurrection; and Mary the wife of Clopas (Cleophas), who was the sister of Jesus’ mother (and the mother of James the less and Joses). The Crucifixion (Matt 27:33-56) is the fifth Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary.
The Wedding Feast of Cana
The transformation of water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Cana is the first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John. (John 2:1-12) In the Gospel account, Jesus, his mother and his disciples are invited to a wedding, and when the wine runs out, Jesus delivers a sign of his glory by turning water into wine.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
In the center of this window we see the Blessed Virgin Mary as represented in a celebrated 15th-century Byzantine icon that has been in Rome since 1499, and is permanently enshrined in the church of Saint’ Alfonso di Liguori. The Redemptorist Priests, were appointed as both custodians and missionaries of this icon by Pope Pius IX in 1865.
Here, as in the miraculous icon, the Virgin Mary, under the title “Mother of God,” holds the Child Jesus. The Archangels Michael and Gabriel, hovering on either side of them, hold the instruments of the Passion. St. Michael (on the left) holds the spear, the wine-soaked sponge, and the crown of thorns. St. Gabriel (on the right) holds the cross and the nails. The Child Jesus seeks comfort from His mother as He sees the instruments of His passion. Surrounding the central image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help are angels.
Adoration of the Magi
Three Magi, represented as kings, having found Jesus by following a star, lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and worship him. (Matthew 2:1-22)
The arrival of the Magi is an important part of the Nativity narrative and is celebrated as the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. The Birth of Jesus is the third Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.
The angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking his Incarnation. The angel Gabriel says Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you… Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:26-38) The Annunciation is the first Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.
Adam and Eve before the Lord after Their Sin
Adam and Eve, having eaten from the tree of knowledge which God had forbidden, became ashamed of their nakedness. Subsequently, God banishes them from the Garden of Eden, condemning Adam to work in order to get what he needs to live, and Eve to giving birth in pain. (Gen 3:1-21)
South Side –Lower Windows (Starting at St. Alphonsus Altar)
- Redemptorist Saints: St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Clement Hofbauer, and St. Gerard Majella
- The Visitation
- Wedding of Mary and Joseph
- Consecration of Mary to the Lord
- Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
- Last Supper
- Temptation in the Desert
- Sermon on the Mount
- Baptism of Jesus
Redemptorist Saints—St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Clement Hofbauer, and St. Gerard Majella
This window represents the Redemptorist Saints at the time the window was created. (A later window featuring St. John Neumann is located over the west entrance. In 1977 Neumann was the first U.S. Bishop and second U.S. citizen to be canonized.) At the left, an angel holds St. Alphonsus’ metre as the bishop kneels before the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament. To the right are two other Redemptorist saints, St. Clement Hofbauer and St. Gerard Majella. At the top of the window, two angels carry Our Lady of Perpetual Help as a gift from heaven to the Redemptorists.
They that explain me shall have everlasting life. Eccl. 25:31
The Visitation is the visit of Mary to Elizabeth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. (Luke 1:39–56.) Mary was pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth with John the Baptist. John, still in the womb, became aware of the presence of Christ and leapt for joy. Elizabeth, recognizing the presence of Jesus. said, “Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb.” In response to Elizabeth, Mary proclaimed the Magnificat (My soul doth magnify the Lord). The Visitation is the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. The Magnificat is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn.
To my Father Timothy O’Hearn
Wedding of Mary and Joseph
Joseph, with his flowering staff, and the Virgin Mary stand in the Temple before the high priest. According to The Golden Legend, several men besides Joseph wanted Mary’s hand in marriage. Each was instructed to place a staff on an altar. The staff that Joseph brought miraculously burst into leaf, a sign that he was God’s choice to be Mary’s husband. For Joseph, this wedding is more than just the taking of a wife: it is an act of protection for Mary and her unborn Child. Just as Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is honored by Catholics as the Mother of the Church, so St. Joseph, the Guardian of Jesus, is honored as the Church’s Protector. His feast is celebrated on March 19.
I will espouse thee to me in Justice Osee (Hosea) 2:19 [Hosea 2:21]
Consecration of Mary to the Lord
As a fair olive tree in the plain and as a plain by the water in the street was I exalted. Ecc. 24:19 [Book of Sirach 24:14]
Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple
Mary and Joseph took the Infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son. (Luke 2:22–40) They encountered Simeon, who had been promised that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Simeon then uttered the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus . The elderly prophetess Anna was also in the Temple, and offered prayers and praise to God for Jesus, speaking of His importance to redemption in Jerusalem. Anna may be the woman standing next to Joseph in this window. The Presentation is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.
And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse. Isiah 11:1
The Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist in which Jesus takes bread, breaks it, and gives it to the Apostles, saying “This is my body given to you.” The Gospel of John does not include this episode, but tells of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles, giving the new commandment “to love one another as I have loved you.” During the meal Jesus predicts his betrayal by one of the Apostles present, and foretells that before the next morning, Peter will deny knowing him. The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is the fifth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary.
Take ye and eat. This is my body. Matt 16:20
In memory of Mary E. Curry Parsons
The Transfiguration of Jesus recalls the moment when Jesus is transfigured in radiant glory upon a mountain. (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36) Jesus and three of his apostles, Peter, James, John, have gone to a mountain to pray when Jesus begins to shine with bright rays of light. Then the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to him and he speaks with them. Jesus is then called “Son” by a voice in the sky, assumed to be God the Father, as in the Baptism of Jesus. The Transfiguration acts as a further revelation of the identity of Jesus as the Son of God to some of his disciples. It is a pivotal moment where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth. The Transfiguration not only supports the identity of Jesus as the Son of God but, identifies him as the messenger and mouth-piece of God. The Transfiguration is the fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary.
This is my beloved son. Hear ye Him. Matth 17:6
In memory of Mary E. Curry Parsons
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount is found in the Gospel of Matthew (Chapters 5, 6, and 7) and is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus which emphasizes his moral teaching. It takes place relatively early in his ministry, after he has been baptized by John the Baptist and preached in Galilee. It includes some of the best known teachings of Jesus, such as the Beatitudes, and the widely recited Lord’s Prayer. The Sermon on the Mount is generally considered to contain the central tenets of Christian discipleship.
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Matth 5:3
In memory of Mary E. Curry Parsons
Temptation in the Desert
The Temptation of Christ in the Desert is detailed in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the Judaean Desert. During this time, Satan appeared to Jesus and tried to tempt him. (Make bread out of stones to relieve his hunger; Jump from a pinnacle and rely on angels to break his fall; Worship the devil in return for all the kingdoms of the world.) Then Jesus said Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:10) Having refused each temptation, the Devil then departed, and Jesus returned to Galilee to begin his ministry. In this window we see Jesus banishing Satan and we see the angels who have come to minister to him.
Thou shalt adore the Lord, Thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Luke 4:8
In memory of Mary E. Curry Parsons
The Baptism of Jesus
The Baptism of Jesus, described in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus, the others being the Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. It is generally considered as the start of his ministry. In this scene, John the Baptist is baptizing Jesus and the Holy Spirit is descending as a dove from heaven. A voice is heard with the words Behold this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.(Matthew 3:13–17; Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–23) The Baptism of Jesus is the first Luminous Mystery of the Rosary.
In memory of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Zahner and Family
Clerestory Window over OLPH Altar
Sorrowful Mother (Mater Dolorosa)
Our Lady of Sorrows is one of the names by which the Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As Mater Dolorosa, it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church. The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. In common religious Catholic imagery, the Virgin Mary is portrayed in a sorrowful and lacrimating affect, with seven long knives or daggers piercing her heart. Devotional prayers elaborate on Seven Sorrows (Dolors) in her life. These are: The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34–35); The Escape and Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13); The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:43–45); The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Via Dolorosa; The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary. (John 19:25); The Piercing of the Side of Jesus with a spear, and His Descent from the Cross. (Matthew 27:57–59); and The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea. (John 19:40–42).
Window above the West Entry of the Church: St. John Neumann, Fourth Redemptorist Saint
The circular window above the choir loft was designed by John T. Murphy when the Redemptorist Church was designated as a diocesan shrine to the Redemptorist saint. Constructed by Hopcroft Art and Stained Glass Works, it was installed in 1977, the year Neumann became the second U.S. citizen to be canonized. (June 19, 1977) He was Bishop of Philadelphia from 1852 to 1860 and built over 50 churches in his lifetime, so it is fitting that the window contains an image of Redemptorist Church–with the addition of a steeple that was never finished. St. John Nep (omucene) Neumann CSSR –1811-1860
Passio Christi Comforta me (Passion of Christ, comfort me)
North Side Lower Windows (Starting at St. Joseph’s Altar)
- The Death of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death
- “Let the children come to me…” (Mark 10:14)
- Apparition of Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
- Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Jesus with theTeachers in the Temple
- The Resurrection of the Lord
- Peter Appointed Head of the Church
- The Ascension of the Lord
- Christ the King
The Death of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death
When Jesus began His public ministry, Mary was with Him, but Joseph was not. Tradition holds that Jesus and Mary were with Joseph when he died, and thus he is invoked as the Patron of a Happy Death.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Apoc [Revelation] 14:13
Memory of Robert Hunton (?)
Let the Children Come to Me
Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Mark 10:14)
Apparition of Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, V.H.M. (1647–1690), was a French Roman Catholic nun and mystic, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ′s physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675.
Behold this Heart which has so loved me.
Neil and Nellie O’Gara
Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Here we see the Sacred Heart shining within the bosom of Christ, and his wounded hands. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love. Historically the devotion to the Sacred Heart is an outgrowth of devotion to what is believed to be Christ’s sacred humanity.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us.
The Resurrection of the Lord
The Resurrection of Christ is the Christian religious belief that, after being put to death, Jesus rose again from the dead. It is the central tenet of Christian theology and part of the Nicene Creed. According to the New Testament, after the Romans crucified Jesus, he was anointed and buried in a new tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. But God raised him from the dead and he appeared to witnesses before he ascended into heaven, to sit at the right hand of God. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, two days after Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion. The Resurrection (John 20:1-29) is the first Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.
I am the Resurrection and the Life. John 11:25
In Memory of Father John McGeough CSS by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Carey
Peter Appointed Head of the Church
The Roman Catholic Church traces the beginnings of the papacy to Jesus’ appointment of Peter as head of the Church. Here Peter, who was previously named Simon, receives his new name from Jesus and is commissioned to be the rock of the Church as Jesus hands him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 16:17-19 and John 21:15-17)
I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven Matt 16:19
In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Grier
The Ascension of the Lord
The Ascension of the Lord window depicts the departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God. The narrative (Luke 24:36-53; Acts 1:9-11) takes place 40 days after the Resurrection. In the company of the disciples. Jesus is taken up in their sight after warning them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit. As he ascends, a cloud hides him from their view, and two men in white appear to tell them that he will return. The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, always a Thursday. The Ascension is the second Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.
While they looked on, He was raised up. Acts 1:9
Pray for Mrs. Jozach Miller and Daughter Mary
The Christian holiday of Pentecost, which is celebrated on the seventh Sunday (49 days) after Easter, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. About one hundred and twenty followers of Christ were present, including the Twelve Apostles (Matthias was Judas’ replacement) Jesus’ mother, Mary, other female disciples and others. Christians believe this event represents the birth of the Church. The descent of the Holy Spirit on the Virgin Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41) is the third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:4
Pray for Father Alex Chapoton and the deceased Redemptorist Fathers.
Christ the King
Christ the King is a title of Jesus where the Christ is described as seated at the Right Hand of the Father in Heaven. The liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King.
And behold there was a throne set in Heaven and upon the Throne one sitting. Apoc. [Revelation] 4:2
Pray for Dr. F. J. Iuen and Family
Clerestory Window over the Sacred Heart Altar
Behold the Man (Ecce Homo)
(Ecce Homo) are the Latin words used by Pontius Pilate in the Vulgate translation of John 19:5, when he presents a scourged Jesus Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, to a hostile crowd shortly before his Crucifixion.
Twenty-two clerestory angel windows along both sides of the nave were installed in the 1940’s.
This ends our tour of the beautiful stained-glass windows in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Catholic Church in mid-town Kansas City, Missouri. This parish and the people who have worshiped here have played an important part in the history and life of our community. I hope this “journey” has given you a deeper appreciation of this beautiful and impressive church and the windows which contribute so much to its spiritual mission.
As always, please let me know if you find errors or omissions in my documentation. I am always interested in your thoughts and responses to what I have shared with you. Remember, if you click on the “FOLLOW” button, you will always be notified whenever I post a new blog entry.