Ken Eldridge captures Bible stories in glass.
And these stories can be seen in the chapel and sanctuary of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fremont.
Last year, the Fremont man began working on the 15-window Divine Mercy project. The windows were installed in time for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 28.
The main window depicts Christ with two beams, one red and one blue, coming from his heart.
A smaller window features a dove with a banner that reads: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Angels are depicted in two other windows.
Eldridge said it took five days to install the windows with the assistance of Jimmy Joyce of Fremont. Joyce worked on the assembly portion of the windows, putting lead and grout in between pieces of colored glass.
The Divine Mercy windows are just part of Eldridge’s artistry.
In 2018, windows depicting parables and teachings of Jesus were installed on the southeast side of the nave in 2018.
The windows depict: The Lost Sheep; The Good Samaritan; The Prodigal Son; The Parable of the Sower; “I Am the Vine, You are the Branches”; “You are the Light of the World.”
Six more windows, which will depict stories of Christ’s miracles, are planned for the southwest corner of the nave. These windows will be: Healing the Lepers; Healed by Faith; Water into Wine; Feeding the Five Thousand; Healing the Blind; Calming the Waters.
Because there are so many miracles, parables and teachings, it was tough for Eldridge to decide which ones transform into windows.
“To boil that down into the top 12 that would be good for the parish is not easy,” Eldridge said.
The designs for the second set of windows are completed, but Eldridge decided to make a change of plans.
He’s going to work on the Our Lady of Guadalupe assembly of windows to celebrate the parish’s Hispanic population. He already has full-scale drawings of the people who will be featured in these windows.
After completion, this will comprise the west assembly bank of 18 windows in the nave.
Eldridge will incorporate a current statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the stained-glass mural will take up the whole assembly of windows.
The windows will include a scene of Juan Diego showing proof of his vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe — Christ’s mother — on the left-hand side. On the right will be baby Jesus in the manager along with Mary and Joseph. The background will include mountains as Eldridge starts with a scene from Mexico, which comes around Our Lady and blends into a stable setting in Bethlehem where Jesus was born.
Tall, thin windows will depict archangels.
The archangel, Michael, will be on the left side. The archangel, Gabriel, will be on the right side. Two upper windows will feature flying angels — one playing a trumpet and the other playing a lute.
Upper right- and left-hand, curved windows will depict the sacred heart of Jesus and the sacred heart of Mary.
Eldridge hopes to finish the work in approximately 18 months.
After that, he’ll work on the six windows depicting Christ’s miracles.
His work doesn’t stop there.
He is planning eight more windows on the north side of the nave.
Designs aren’t done for these windows yet.
“Starting on the left-hand side, it’s going to be from creation to resurrection,” he said.
Eldridge plans to continue creating stained glass windows for the church, “until I can’t do it anymore.”
He has found a poignant response to his work.
One woman looked at the Divine Mercy window and wondered aloud how anyone could not be drawn to the image and reflect on his or her own faith.
“She was mesmerized by it and I happened to be there and she told me that and it choked me up and she was choked up. It was so awesome,” he said.
Eldridge noted something else.
“It makes it all worthwhile — knowing I do touch people’s hearts with my artwork, with my stained glass,” he said. “It doesn’t make me pat myself on the back; it’s just that I’m so thankful when people say they really get with where I’m trying to go with the whole thing.”