20081210-living-0101.jpgNew Iberia’s newest art installation may be one of the best kept secrets in town. Catholic High has just set a series of stained glass windows into its chapel, newly converted from the school’s library and cocooned away from the street in the heart of the campus. Created by Craig McCullen of WhooJoo Glass Studio in downtown Lafayette, the panes depict a stained glass narrative that speaks the language of the Catholic Church through a local iconography of place.

“Construction on the newly converted chapel started in 2007, and the windows alone took a year to complete,” says Catholic High Principal Dr. Timothy Uhl. All 18 windows were sponsored by generous patrons who helped support the project (all of whom will be formally recognized in a Dec. 11 service). Each of the nine grades added a personal touch by choosing a patron Saint — along with other significant religious symbols — to represent its strongest ideals. Sugarcane and the Bayou Teche appear throughout, creating a folkloric setting for the common thread that connects all of the panes. In an effort to recognize Catholic High’s heritage, the original private Catholic boy’s school in New Iberia, St. Peter’s College, is represented alongside Mount Carmel, the Catholic school for girls. The two schools merged to create today’s Catholic High.  

Not only do the new windows provide symbolic significance, but they also offer a color-saturated spiritual experience. “We left some parts of the windows clear or transparent so you could see the oak tree in the courtyard,” Uhl says of the school’s effort to incorporate nature in every way possible.

Mass is held every Thursday at 8:30 a.m., no doubt a prime time to appreciate the intensely beautiful representations of the spirit of Catholic High.

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