Tuesday, January 26, 2016


From the top of the state capitol tower in Lincoln, Nebraska, we could see a charming white church across the street that looked as if it should be peaking through the rich emerald pine branches of the dense Bavarian forest rather than sitting on the unimaginative flat asphalt streets of a Nebraska prairie town:
St. Mary's Catholic Church of Lincoln, Nebraska, is a hidden gem and a great example of why Americans should spend some time exploring their own country.
I couldn't find any information about this church online other than its own website, which wasn't designed for tourists--no history, no information about the architecture or stained glass--just times for mass, services provided by the church, parish staff, links to important Catholic sites, etc. Clearly, it's a working church and not a "destination," but it was unlocked, and we were thrilled to get a peak inside.

The simple white walls and pink and gold accents give the interior, like the exterior, a Bavarian feel. 
If I had to describe the church in one word, it would be "serenity."

What takes this little church up a level is its beautiful stained glass windows.

Each panel shows an important event in the life of Mary. The first is of three-year-old Mary being presented in the temple by her parents, Anna and Joachim:

Side-by-side panels depict the Annunciation. The Angel Gabriel is telling Mary that she will be the mother of the Son of God:

Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John (the Baptist). Both husbands appear to be present at the meeting, a fun addition, though not supported by scripture. Also, I'm guessing it might be a challenge for an elderly pregnant woman to kneel, but Elizabeth's position conveys tender adoration:

The birth of Christ, attended by the shepherds:

Mary and Joseph present Jesus in the temple forty days after his birth, and Simeon and Anna bear testimony of his divinity. Note the two sacrificial doves that Joseph is holding:

As twelve-year-old Jesus teaches in the temple, Joseph and Mary watch from the window (upper left), having just discovered his whereabouts after searching for three days:

Although Mary is not in the next three windows, these events in her son's life were certainly important to her, just as our children's activities are important to us. I'm not sure what this next window depicts--perhaps the raising of the daughter of Jairus? Why is everyone's hand up in the air? Who is the rich person in the purple robes gathering what looks like coins? Why does Jesus appear to have horns? 

Jesus multiplies the loaves and fishes to feed 5,000:

The Passion of Christ:

The organ is in the rear balcony, as it is in most Catholic churches:
In each petal of the window in the organ loft there is an angel playing a musical instrument:

Another, simpler window from somewhere else in the church:

Additional windows honor the four evangelists who recorded Mary's and Jesus' stories:

John looks so young compared to the other three:

I'm assuming these two statues are Mary and her mother Anna (the important women) and Joseph holding the baby Jesus (the important men):

What a wonderful little church. I'm so glad we slipped inside for a few minutes.


  1. I didn't get pictures of most of the stained glass. Very nice.

  2. Beautiful! Love the stained glass.