Love and loss have brought new light to Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church in Central Saanich.
Long-time parishioner Lee Heide made a donation, in memory of his late wife Mary, to the church to make and install two new stained glass windows.
One of the windows was designed by First Nation artist Charles Elliott and incorporates the eagle, the salmon and the hands of blessing. The other, designed by Cavon Butler and Tim Smith, of Glass-Smith and Company in Victoria, who also built the windows, incorporates the sun, grapes, a sheaf of wheat and the Alpha and Omega.
“I love art, visual art,” said Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria, Vancouver Island Richard Gagnon. “Art helps us draw closer to God.”
Gagnon made a special appearance at Our Lady of Assumption to both celebrate the Eucharist and bless the two new windows.
“It is particularly interesting that religious art focusses on God the Creator and his creation and is usually a reflection of our faith,” Gagnon said.
“Art helps us to answer a call in our hearts that we long to respond to.”
Gagnon said, “we are working on healing and reconciliation in our diocese” and to that end they are bringing the Returning to Spirit program to Vancouver Island.
The Returning to Spirit training program has been designed to address residential school issues and for anyone who wants to move beyond their existing limits and constraints.
The Returning to Spirit program is based on returning people to the spirit of who they are, rather than reliving their painful experience of residential school.
“Hearts have been changing in this diocese between ourselves and our First Nation brothers and sisters,” said Gagnon.
Gagnon and Reverend Rolf Hasenack OP, pastor of Our Lady of Assumption and St. Elizabeth’s Church in Sidney, blessed the windows and congregation after mass was celebrated Sunday.