Roman Catholic Parish of St James and St William of York Reading
Sacred Art in the Church
Welcome to St. James Church, Reading. We hope you feel as blessed in your visit to our place of worship as we are to have you come to see us. Acquaint yourself with our Church and all that makes it our place of worship and reflection.
The layout of the Church is shown below. Click through the images to explore the Church. For a 360 view of the Church click here.
The practice of placing images or statues in churches for devotional reasons is, for Catholics, a legitimate and commendable one. There are shrines with statues to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. James. Around the church there are also statues of St. Joseph, St. Peter, St. Patrick, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis Xavier. The veneration of saints is primarily a proclamation of Jesus Christ and His paschal mystery and a way of reaching out to God through the intercession of His saints. Around the walls is ‘The Way of the Cross’, the different ‘stations’ recalling the passion of Christ. The church has very impressive 19th century stained glass windows over the sanctuary, probably designed by Pugin. The windows in the Sacred Heart Chapel tell the story of those in the Reading area who were faithful to the call of God, some of whom were martyred because of their faith. This is a copy of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa venerated at the monastery of Jasna Gora, Poland, hangs in the Lady Chapel. It has a special place in the faith life of the Polish people. It was given to St James Church in 2007 by the Marian Fathers of Fawley Court.
Flowers and plants are used as adornment before the altar, the lectern and some of the statues. In the Church are several votive candle stands. Catholics light candles before images as a sign of their prayer, ‘burning like incense rising to God.’
Over the years, art, images and icons have helped in teaching the faith, in stimulating devotion and prayer. The images give character and colour to the Church and help to remind us of who we are and how far we have travelled together; they keep our collective memory of God’s great people alive and fresh.