Friar Demonstrates Stained-Glass Making

Cassian Miles Around the Province

WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. — The 21 youngsters from grades four, five and six in Assumption School here huddled in fascinated attention around a long table in the school’s art room recently as Brian Cullinane added finishing touches to a small panel of stained-glass he had just created from scratch –- no pun intended.

The occasion was a May 18 demonstration of the craft and hobby of making stained-glass to the school’s “Squires and Scribes,” an elite group of high academic achieving boys and girls.

“As you can see,” Brian explained, while holding his soldering iron, “making stained-glass isn’t really all that difficult and can become an enjoyable hobby for you.”

The program had been arranged by Principal Aileen Giannelli as part of the group’s several ventures this school year into the medieval world of King Arthur and his knights.

Brian opened his presentation with general comments about stained-glass, then proceeded onto his step-by-step instruction for the youngsters. He displayed various shapes and sizes of colored pieces of glass, and out of those began to create a small panel that could become part of, say, a Tiffany-style lamp shade.

When Brian had nearly finished the sample panel, he pointed out how the silver solder holding the pieces together had then to be covered with black patina. As he completed his task, and burnished the glass with a liquid cleanser to reveal the panel in all its beauty, cries of “Wow!,” “Hey, cool!” filled the room.

Behind him, as an example of a pattern for the youngsters to observe, he had taped the large illustration on paper of the Franciscan “creation” theme he had fashioned for the stained-glass window in the chapel at Margate. He also later displayed the finished example of that piece on a card the friars there had sent as last year’s Christmas greeting.

As time was running out before the children had to leave for dismissal, Brian, who is pastor of Assumption Parish, held up and paged through an album containing photos of most of his past stained-glass creations for family members and friends. He hoped that this final exhibition might just serve as a motivation for a future Louis Comfort Tiffany in the room.

— Fr. Cassian, a senior associate friar at Assumption Church, is former director of communications for St. Anthony’s Guild and the Province.