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Architecture for Liturgy - I

Celebrating liturgy involves bodily actions that narrate the mysteries celebrated. This bodily narration determines not only the functional aspects of church design, but even more importantly, the inner dimensions inherent in the ritual narrative are expressed outwardly through an artistic program well integrated into the architectural design and arrangement of churches.

Much attention is given to the design of functional and even transcendent buildings, but insufficient attention has been given to developing a prolonged ritual narration whose every element expresses in synthesis the whole mystery celebrated by rites, symbols and texts proper to each element, all of which is determinative of the design and arrangement of church buildings and their artistic programs.

The First Liturgy Week Architecture for Liturgy I  begins with a pictorial journey through the ancient basilicas of Rome. Next, we consider several different arrangements for churches that arose during the discussions held at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). From these we shall consider the three primary human experiences and their respective places: personal illumination with light in the baptistery and font, ongoing maturation by the word in the hall and at the ambo, interpersonal communion through consummation at the dais and altar-ciborium. Both liturgy weeks include visits to selected churches with guided discussions on the liturgical principles realized, and not yet fully realized.

Week I is being offered at the St. John Paul II Center in Denver Colorado, January 20-24, 2020 – click here to register now

The Second Liturgy Week Architecture for Liturgy II  begins with the distinction between allegory and sacramental symbol. Most of the week is spent considering the inner dynamics of liturgy according to four pairs: memorial-imitation, presentation-invocation, moral and eternal life, sharing in divine life. The goal of both liturgy weeks is the development of a “Ritual Model”, which consists of the liturgical principles guiding the ritual celebration of liturgy and the expression of its inner meaning through artistic programs integrated into the architectural design of a church.

Liturgy Week 1 and 2 are designed for:

⋅ Parish planning groups preparing to renovate or build a church or chapel,
⋅ Architects and artists seeking a commission for a renovated or new church,
⋅ Architects wishing to design a building that supports a fuller ritual narrative and integrates better its artistic program,
⋅ Artists seeking inspiration from dimensions inherent to the bodily celebration of rites for more integrated and fuller artistic programs,
⋅ Diocesan directors of offices of worship or commissions that govern the building or renovation of churches,
⋅ Pastors wishing a more universal, historical and thus catholic perspective for the design phase of building or renovating a church.
⋅ Liturgists wishing to develop the ritual narration of celebrating liturgy,
⋅ Ecumenical partners seeking our common tradition, sharing the recent liturgical renewal and considering our differentiated practices.

The presentations are clear, given in ordinary language for the informed person and are richly illustrated by pictorial journeys. This accessibility gives direct and immediate access to the inner dimensions of liturgical celebrations.

Earlier Event: November 24
Solemn Profession of Br. Karel Soukup
Later Event: March 20
Abbey Couple's Retreat