Thursday, March 23, 2006

Behind the scenes, you'll find liturgical design consultants

Karen Mahoney reports in our Catholic Herald on the process of building or renovating a church.
In all instances, the building projects must comply with the U.S. bishops' guidelines for building and renovating churches, "Built of Living Stones," which provide a basis for a diocese's guidelines and directives. In addition, churches in the Milwaukee Archdiocese are required to abide by "Building a Home, Gathering the Assembly," the norms for building and renovating churches.

Then the plans go to the Archbishop. You'd think that would be the last step before breaking ground.
Following the approval of the archbishop, and the creation of a building team, parishes work with Daniels [Dean Daniels, director of the Office of Prayer, Worship and Evangelization], who oversees all of the ecclesiastical architecture in order to make sure the renovations fulfill that the church's and Archbishop Dolan's wishes are satisfied.

Wasn't that the point of running it past the Archbishop himself? Or is the point to create as much work as possible?
Additionally, parishes are required to enlist the assistance of a qualified liturgical design consultant for the construction or renovation project.

If it makes you wonder what all those people do at the Cousins Center, I wonder even more each time I see them on the job. Wouldn't you think that for less than is being spent on liturgical design consultants our Archdiocese could have someone on staff who knows how to apply these rules? Someone to whom, for example, I could refer my Christian Formation students who ask me why St. Al's church (1985) looks like an auditorium.
A common complaint with building or renovation is that the tabernacle is hard to find or hidden, but according to "Building a Home, Gathering the Assembly," the tabernacle in which the Eucharist is reserved is to be situated in some part of the church or oratory that is distinguished, conspicuous, beautifully decorated and suitable for prayer (Canon 938). The location of this area is to be prominently visible from within the main worship space.

Or it can be stuck in a hallway as it was in the renovation of the Milwaukee Cathedral a few years back.
"There is considerable discussion today about the place for the tabernacle and the independent reservation chapels of an earlier period in the post conciliar church and have been replaced in many cases with a recommendation to fold the reservation space into the assembly, even in the old central position behind the altar of sacrifice," he [E.J. Potente of Studios of Potente Inc., in Kenosha] said.

I made that point in the parish meetings before the recent building project at St. Al's but our architect responded that "we're not going back." Of course, we also paid a liturgical design consultant to tell us, among other things, why we stopped using hosts, and since then we've gone back to using them. I wonder what the parish paid for all that expert advice.


Blogger Dave said...

I wonder: would Henry Hardinge Menzies, Stephen Schloeder, Duncan Stroik, or Thomas Gordon Smith be welcome in this archdiocese?

10:08 PM  
Blogger Pacem said...

Duncan Stroik was interviewed by a parish recently. But, he was not chosen, thank goodness.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Karen Marie said...

Hallways are not large, square, domed, or having major stained glass devotoinal images.

Hallways are not prominent as one steps into the nave from a major (atrium/Sunday&holyday handicapped/larger narthex) entrance.

Hallways do not inspire reverence and awe.

Hallways do not attract believers for prayer and adoration.

The Chapel of Reservation at the Cathedral is/does all three. By personal observation and experience.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Karen Marie said...

Make that four......

5:43 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

It wouldn't be surprising for a hallway in a Cathedral to have the first three of those characteristics.

You don't deny the tabernacle is in a space that functions as a hallway. Hallway traffic is not conducive to the fourth, prayer and adoration.

The Hallway of Reservation is adjacent to the statue of Blessed John XXIII which is, by comparison, conspicuous and conducive to reverence and awe.

7:16 AM  

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