Our Lady of Lourdes refurbishing windows

Some of the smaller stained glass windows at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Pittsburg are now in South Hutchison for cleaning and new leading. The project, which includes the large windows on the left, will take about two years. (Courtesy photos)

The finishing touches to an already extraordinary sanctuary are underway at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Pittsburg.

Father Jerome Spexarth said the parish – under the leadership of his predecessor Fr. Michael Baldwin – completed a renovation about a year before Fr. Spexarth was named pastor in 2018.

The parish postponed refurbishing the stained glass windows, though. “It’s not that they didn’t need work, but that they didn’t want to include that at the time. It wasn’t something super important at that time,” Fr. Spexarth said.

After consulting with stained glass experts, various parishioners, and staff, the pastor decided to ask the parish to consider refurbishing the windows, which when complete, should endure for about 100 years.

The church has 19 stained glass windows, two of which are immense multi-paneled casements. Despite protected exterior coverings, some were leaking, suffering from wood rot, and sagging from deteriorating lead.

“We’ve had great support,” Fr. Spexarth said. “People have stepped forward giving large donations.”

All the windows will be renovated, he said. “We want to make sure they’re all in tip-top shape, especially for the long-term future.”

Most of the windows were installed in 1904 as part of the original church. The transepts, which contain the huge windows, were added in 1931.

“They are going to be a tremendous thing for them to tackle because they’re just enormous – and gorgeous,” he said.

The names of the saints depicted in most of the windows will be added inconspicuously, Fr. Spexarth said. “We have the apostles on the sides, but none of them are labeled. And nobody has a clue, except for St. John, because he has no beard.”

St. John is depicted without a beard to emphasize his youth.

Work on the windows began in October. The project will take about two years to complete.