Thursday, May 19, 2016

6:30 AM at St. John Fisher Parish: An Existential Moment in Stained Glass


"Why I so much prefer autumn to spring is that in the autumn one looks at heaven--in the spring at the earth."--Søren Kierkegaard



These May mornings are fall like.  For the last two weeks you would believe that it was time to rake leaves.

God wakes me up and the least I can do say some small thanks.  After prayers, the morning ablutions and whisker landscaping it is time to pound the pavement to 6:30 AM services at my neighboring parish St. John Fisher.  Located in what is called West Beverly ( the area north of my Morgan Park neighborhood) the walk is a splendid mile and change that takes me up Talman Avenue and some of the most beautiful homes in the 19th Ward on south side of Chicago.  Unlike the tony mansion and massive bungalow phalanxes crowding the Ward east of Western Avenue and the blue collar raised ranches and Cape Cods and frames of Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood, West Beverly aka St. John Fisher Parish, or just Fisher, features streets where every home sports a unique architectural jacket.  The photo above is an example.


St. John Fisher Grammar School is the most desired placement in the neighborhood for the children of cops, firemen, CPS teachers, nurses and Cook County and City Hall Government mandarins of every rank.  The school run by Sister Jean McGrath is one of most successfully enrolled schools in the Chicago Archdiocese.
 A forty foot high cross marks St. John Fisher parish campus of Church, school, rectory and convent.
 The church represents the post-World War II architecture found in parishes on the far southwest side - departures from the huge granite, marble Gothic, Lombardy, and Romansque churches found in the older south side parishes.  It is a large open and comfortable place of worship.

 The parish is named in honor of a martyr to Henry the Eighth's glandular theology of the Anglican and Episopal denominations. St. John Fisher was a bishop who went to King Henry's chopping block before St. Thomas More who seemed to have had a better public relations appeal in history.
 Our Lady was crowned by the kids of the parish a few weeks ago.
 Early morning services are attended by a baker's dozen of regulars.
 My daily perch is in the last pew on the south side of the church which features this stained glass representation of Abraham's interrupted sacrifice of his lad Issac in the most existential episode of the Bible. The knife is up!  Will Abe really bring it down on his kid?  God's Hand Shows Up!
 Since the beginning of Lent and right up to this morning, I have studied this window.
I realized that the young man depicted as ISSAC in the stained glass went to Mount Carmel.  He is wearing the 19th Ward requisite tonsorial headwear - a brown MC baseball cap with brim turned around to keep the sun off the kid with see-through Irish skin on his neck.(click on the photo for a better look)

1 comment:

William Riley said...

Very nicely said Mr. Hickey. My kids love going to school here which helps swallow the pill of tuition. when kids like where they are going it is easier to get them out of bed in the morning get their homework done and let's face it it's just nice when they go to school with a smile on their face. They are both making lifelong friends and I don't think I've ever heard of a case of bullying. All the kids get along with each other regardless of their skills in sports or academics. I lived in fisher all of my 42 years and love it.