Vol 44 No 4 December 2014
|Our Cover: O How Could We Sing||Elich, Tom||Liturgical Inculturation||1, 16|
|Editor: 'And When Churches...'||Elich, Tom||Architecture and Environment||2|
|The Sign of Peace||Craig, Barry||Symbols||3-5|
|Holy Communion and the Divorced||Moore, Gerard||Eucharist / Mass||6-7|
|Australia: Anzac Day Ritual 1915-2015||Batt, Morgan||Special Celebrations||8-9|
|Who Said This?||-||Eucharist / Mass||10|
|New Liturgy Prefect||-||People||10|
|What Else is Happening at the Congregation for Divine Worship?||-||People||11|
|Christ Cathedral||-||Architecture and Environment||11|
|Readers||Braddon, Denise||Liturgy of the Word||12-13|
|Silence, Louder Than Words. What Everyone Needs to Know About Silence in the Liturgy||Rosier, Veronica||Liturgy Preparation||14|
|Books: 101 Liturgical Suggestions. Practical Ideas for Those Who Prepare the Liturgy by Columba McCann||Cronin, James||Liturgy Preparation||15|
‘AND WHEN CHURCHES…’
And when churches are to be built,
let great care be taken that they are suitable
for the celebration of liturgical services and
for the active participation of the faithful (SC 124).
Building or renovating a church is hard work. Quite apart from the challenges of financing a project, negotiating a complex set of approvals, and managing the construction, there is the delicate question of establishing a liturgical brief and working with an architect to respond to the brief.
The purpose of the church is to enable the Church to celebrate the liturgy well. How do we create a place that evokes a sense of the sacred, where the Church may perform the liturgical actions in which the mysterious and wonderful world of God’s saving grace is opened up? This has to be so much more than a preconceived plan adapted for so many seats with an affordable cost per square metre. It is an exercise in spiritual discernment, of searching together for a profound understanding of the liturgical structures of word and sacrament; it seeks to enable full, conscious and active participation in the liturgical action and, by this means, in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
It necessitates a solid knowledge of the liturgical books and an appreciation of the theology underlying them. We have dozens of liturgical books in the Roman Rite. Each has an introduction and each has texts that articulate the meaning of the rite. Scattered throughout this library are indications which will make demands on the sacred liturgical space of the church. There is no convenient compendium for the universal Church nor, given the individuality of cultural and architectural traditions, is one possible. Consequently over recent decades, many countries have produced documents on church building and renovation which draw together guidelines for the local Church.
The Bishops Conference of England and Wales prepared The Parish Church: Principles of Liturgical Design and Reordering in 1984 and subsequently in 2006 produced Consecrated for Worship: A Directory on Church Building. The Irish document, The Place of Worship: Pastoral Directory on the Building and Reordering of Churches (1994) has passed through several editions. In the USA, the Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy produced Environment and Art in Catholic Worship in 1978 and then reworked it entirely in 2000 into a new document Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture, and Worship. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published Our Place of Worship in 1999. In Australia, we have always drawn on all of these because they are a convenient way to access a very diverse documentation, but we have never had guidelines of our own.
Several years ago the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference established the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board. One of the priorities in the Board’s mandate was to prepare guidelines for Australia. In November 2014, the bishops have approved our own document for publication. It is called ‘And When Churches Are To Be Built…’ Preparation, planning and construction of places of worship. It is the result of the liturgical and architectural expertise of members of the Board. It will be published by Liturgy Brisbane in the new year.
The document is intended for use by pastors and their planning teams, by architects and artists. It will help educate a parish community and establish the scope of a project for a new church or a work of refurbishment. It will be a reference document for bishops and diocesan liturgy commissions. The document is written for easy reference – the text is broken up by frequent headings and is arranged in ‘dot points’ throughout.
Part One Laying the Foundations sets out liturgical and architectural principles for a Catholic worship space. Part Two Designing the Church goes through each of the elements in a church, setting out a design brief and establishing the way in which they are related in the whole. Part Three Building the Church explores the material language of architecture, the roles of the various protagonists and the building process they undertake. Finally an appendix assembles a dossier of useful technical information.
Even with the guidance of ‘And When Churches Are To Be Built…’ there will still be many things for a parish or other community to work out. There are always elements of tension to be balanced and resolved. How do you ensure that the tabernacle is prominent from the entrance to the church, related to the altar upon which the bread and wine are consecrated, and set in a place suitable for private prayer and meditation? How do you design an altar which is both altar of sacrifice and table of the Lord’s supper? How do you resolve the location of the font in relation to the entry, the altar and the assembly? How do you achieve a church design which is monumental enough to witness to the Gospel in the suburb and yet modest enough to speak of welcome to all and hospitality to the marginalised?
It is proposed to launch the guidelines at a Symposium organised by the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board in conjunction with the Australian Catholic University. God is in the Detail: A Symposium on Making Architecture and Art for Catholic Worship will be held in Melbourne between 11 – 13 February 2015. It will appeal to architects and artists, pastors with their building committees and parish councils, liturgists at parish, diocesan and national levels, and all those involved in building worship spaces in schools, hospitals and other institutions. Keynote speakers Rev Dr Paul Minnihan and architect Craig Hartman will present the liturgical and architectural issues in building the wonderful new Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California. There will be opportunities to explore the elements of sacred architecture and to study a number of current or recent projects in Australia. Registrations are now open: www.acu.edu.au/nlaab.