St. Joseph Catholic Church


Church Tour

The Baptistery

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View the Cathedral's Beautiful Stained Glass Windows

Cathedral -- The word cathedral is derived from the Latin "cathedra" meaning chair. The Cathedral contains the permanent chair or throne of the Bishop. The Cathedral is the mother church of the diocese. The Diocese of Lincoln includes all of Nebraska south of the Platte River. It is in the Cathedral that: high feasts are celebrated with the Bishop presiding; Holy Oils are consecrated during Holy Week for use in all the Catholic Churches in the Diocese thoughtout the coming year; new priests are ordained; religious receive their final vows; acolytes and lectors are installed; and new churches are established. The Cathedral in one sense is a school, a place of teaching as well as worship. Here the Bishop teaches, governs, sanctifies. From here he sends forth priests to carry Christ to the people of the area.

The Resurrection of the first Easter is the theme of this Cathedral. All things in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ tell of this truly tremendous event; the windows, the art work, and the statuary all announce: "He is Risen."

The Cathedral of the Risen Christ was constructed in 1964 - 1965 and consecrated on August 16, 1965, by Archbishop James V. Casey. In the floor of the baptistery is the coat of arms of the Archbishop. The coat of arms is located at the foot of the ceremonial doors which are opened on special occasions. Archbishop Casey designed the coat of arms.

Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms: Each bishop designs his own coat of arms. On the right side is the coat-of arms of the Casey family redesigned to make it peculiar to the Archbishop. One can see an escallop shell, the symbol of St. James, Bishop Casey's first name. The two golden Latin crosses are derived from the coat of arms of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Leo Binz, DD, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, where Bishop Casey was born, baptized and where he labored as a priest for 17 years. The motto "Nisi Dominus" is taken from Psalm 126, and is translated "unless the Lord." Fully the text is: "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vein that build. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watches in vain that keepeth it." Archbishop Casey was Bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln from 1957 until 1967 when he became Archbishop of the Diocese of Denver in Colorado.

The Baptistery Window:

The brilliant Baptistery window tells the triumphant story of the Resurrection in glass and color. The luminous center is the formless body of the Risen Christ. The rays emanating from the body of Christ fan out to the side window of blue and green glass - the blue of the sky and the green of the earth to show that Christ has dominion over all the earth. (Artist: Rambusch Studio of New York)

The Baptismal Font

It is through Baptism that all Christians enter into their lives with Christ. And according to the guidelines laid down by Vatican II, the Baptismal Font should be placed in the entrance of the church. The Font lid is made of 8 bronze panels that encompass a reference to water.

Image Symbolism
Noah's Ark Saving waters of Baptism
Jacob wrestling the angel Baptism gives us the strength to endure spiritual evil
Moses leading the people through the Red Sea Baptism helps us to journey safely through life
Moses striking the rock to bring forth water to save his people Baptism is saving water
Christ being baptized by John. A prefiguration of the baptism given to us by Christ Christ talking to the Samaritan Women at Jacob's Well. The living water Christ will give
Angel stirring water for crippled man in Jerusalem All are called to the living water of baptism
Soldier opening the side of Christ with a spear and blood and water flow out The water of baptism that comes from Christ bringing us every rich and holy blessing

The Narthex Window

The Narthex or Crystal Screen stands nearly three stories high. This large window tells the story of religion based on the Bible. The right hand window tells of the fall of man. The large center window tells of the redemption of man. The left window tells of the means of salvation.

Right Panel: The almond shaped design in the top left panel represents the eye of God. The panel below shows Michael driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. In the bottom panel one can see the heads of Adam and Eve, the hand holding the forbidden fruit, and just above the back pew, the coiled serpent -- the symbol of the devil.

The center window is dominated by the glorious Risen Christ. On His one hand are the two hands of God; on His other hand the dove -- the symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the lower left hand corner is Christ in His tomb, wrapped in His shroud. Above His feet is Thomas putting his fingers into the wound in Christ's side. Directly to the right is the crucified Christ.

The left panel depicts the means to salvation in the Catholic Church. The seven sacraments, the Church and the bible. At the base is Peter, to whom Our Lord entrusted the visible leadership of His Church. Beside Peter is the Church. Above Peter is an open bible. The symbols of the seven sacraments are found above Peter.

The Shell in the upper part of the panel represents the Sacrament of Baptism. An Ear can be found representing the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Stole represents the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The Olive Plant represents the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. In the top panel are two rings representing the Sacrament of Matrimony. The Sacrament of Holy Eucharist is depicted by the Chalice and Host. And finally, the Sacrament of Confirmation is depicted by the Dove.

The Bishop's Chapel


Bishop's Chapel

The Bishop's Chapel is so named because it contains the likenesses of six bishops of Lincoln in the stained-glass window.

In the window one can clearly see the likeness of six bishops of Lincoln. From left is the Most reverend Thomas A. Bonacum, 1887 - 1911; Most Reverend J. Henry Tihen, 1911 - 1917; Most Reverend Charles J. O'Reilly, 1918 - 1923; Most Reverend Francis J. Beckman, 1924 - 1930; Most Reverend Louis B. Kucera, 1930 - 1957; and Most Reverend James V. Casey, 1957 - 1967. The coat-of-arms is above, the Bishop's motto is below.

In the wall brackets on each side of the Alter are gas flames. These perpetual flames burn in memory of the four Bishops who are buried in this chapel: Bishop Bonacum, Bishop O'Reilly, Bishop Kucera and Bishop Flavin. Only those Bishops who die while still in office or in retirement are buried in this Chapel. There are nine crypts available.

The East Wall

The Resurrected Christ: After the Resurrection, the first person Jesus appeared to was Mary Magdalene. She thought he was a gardener. The artist has placed a gardener's hat on Jesus' head and a spade in his hand.

Photo Credits: Joel Sartore
Window Design: Max Ingrand, Paris France

Other imagery includes:

Peter and John at the empty tomb.

Jesus' first appearance with the disciples was at Emmaus. When He broke bread with them, their eyes were opened.

Christ appeared to the disciples in the upper room. It was at this time that Thomas had the opportunity to put his fingers in the wounds of Christ's side, His hands and His feet, and finally believe that He had risen.

Christ's third appearance to the apostles was on the Sea of Tiberius where the apostles had been fishing all night without a catch. At dawn a stranger appeared on the shore line and told the apostles to lower their nets on the other side of the boat. They dbrought in a large haul of fish without breaking their nets, and realized the stranger is the Risen Lord.

Christ gives the keys of the Church to Peter, telling him to "feed my lambs and feed my sheep."

The Ascension of the Lord into Heaven. The hands above are of the Father in Heaven.

The West Wall

As you can see in the compilation photo, the Cathedral windows are free form. During the Cathedral's construction cutouts were made of each of the windows. Two sets of cutouts were made. One was reserved in Lincoln and the other was shipped to Europe for the artist to use in creation of the stained glass windows. Unfortunately, humidity conditions expanded the plywood cutouts shipped to Europe, resulting in windows slightly too large for openings when received in Lincoln in 1965. Area artists were summoned by Bishop Casey, and alterations were made to preserve the integrity and original design. In the late 1980's additional outside "storm windows" were installed to protect and preserve the windows from Nebraska's weather extremes.

Photo Credits: Joel Sartore
Window Design: Max Ingrand, Paris France

Other imagery includes:

Christ raising Lazarus from the dead.

Christ looking at Lazarus and Jonas. He is telling the two men about the resurrection of Jonas from the whale. It is a foretelling of Christ's own Resurrection.

The depiction of the spear piercing the side of Christ. Next, one sees Joseph of Aramathea, Nicodemus and Mary, the mother of our savior, who have taken Jesus down from the cross, wrapped him in his shroud and are taking him to the tomb.

Two soldiers who are placed by the authorities at the entrance of the tomb to be sure the friends of the crucified man did not come and take him away, for they had heard his prophecy that he would leave the tomb.

Three empty crosses, and below, three women.

Six women, among whom are Mary the mother of James, Mary of Magdala, Salome and Joanna, who have gone to the sepulcher with their boxes of spices and jars of oil to anoint the body of Jesus, as was the Jewish custom. They arrive a the sepulcher, to find the rock had been rolled away.

They look inside the tomb and see a man in shining white sitting on the edge of the tomb. The angel says to them: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen as he said."