Kent: The Rev. Richard J. Pentello is impressed by the wisdom of whoever designed the church at his parish.
“We have no records of who decided to include a stained-glass window of the Apostle Judas, but the design is very insightful,” said Pentello, pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church. “The stained-glass windows of all the other apostles are within the body of the church building, while the Judas window is placed at the side entrance — still within the church but not in the main body.”
Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 apostles closest to Jesus and was with him at the Last Supper, when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified, according to the Christian gospels. The Last Supper — commemorated today on Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday or Great Thursday in some faith traditions — is the basis for the meal Christians share as part of worship known as Communion, the Eucharist or The Lord’s Supper.
In the Christian tradition, Maundy Thursday is the night that Jesus prepared his followers for his death. It is also known as the night Jesus was betrayed, referring to the actions of Judas, who agreed to hand Jesus over to be crucified for 30 pieces of silver.
According to the scriptures, Jesus reveals to his apostles at the Last Supper that one of them will betray him. Subsequent to Judas’ betrayal, he repented and tried to return the silver by throwing the coins on the temple floor. He then hanged himself.
“While Judas is seen as a traitor who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver by most Christians, he was obviously one of Jesus’ closest friends,” Pentello said. “He is part of the gospel story, but we rarely see a stained-glass window with his image. In fact, the first time I ever saw Judas on a stained-glass window was when I came here as the pastor” in 2006.
Robert Tayek, spokesman for the Cleveland diocese, said his research shows that few churches have individual stained-glass windows dedicated to all 12 apostles. When they do, Judas is not typically included. Instead, the 12th apostle is identified as St. Matthias, who was chosen to succeed Judas after his suicide.
Some churches, like the Cathedral of St. John in Cleveland, include stained-glass windows with images of Judas in depictions of the Last Supper. In the Last Supper window on the north wall at St. John’s, Judas is seen, with a small bag in his hand, walking away from the table where Jesus is seated with the other 11 apostles.
The window at St. Patrick’s in Kent, at 313 N. Depeyster St., depicts an image of Judas with a pained look on his face. He is holding pieces of silver, and a rope and a tree can be seen in the background. It was installed when the church was constructed in 1953 and is located at the south entrance.
The congregation, which was established in 1864, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
“Judas betrayed Jesus, and Peter denied [Jesus] three times. Even though Peter denied him three times, he believed he could be forgiven. Judas, on the other hand, believed that what he did was so extreme that Christ could never forgive him,” Pentello said. “But Jesus loved Judas like the other apostles. Sometimes we do things and we ask ourselves, ‘Could God ever forgive me for that?’ The answer is, ‘Absolutely! Yes!’ We know in our heads that God is all-forgiving, but sometimes it’s difficult to get that into our hearts.
“Peter lived because he knew he could be forgiven. Judas believed he couldn’t be forgiven and died,” Pentello continued. “The message for us is no matter what we’ve done, we can be forgiven.
“That’s who God is — a loving, merciful, forgiving God.”