Come into As a child, my father, George, used to prepare for the Sunday Eucharist first on Saturday evening when his Sundaybest clothes were laid out for him at their home high on the river bluffs in St. Joseph, Mo. This simple gesture claimed his night’s rest and morning routine as part of his preparation. In the morning the family used to walk downhill a couple of blocks to the Church of the Immaculate Conception and enter through its doors, opening between twin towers. There they always paused for a moment to remember their baptism by crossing themselves with its water and by renewing their profession of faith in the Triune God, ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. Their procession to church would continue as they walked up the nave until they found a pew. There, they would pray and listen to the Scripture proclaimed and explained. Finally they would resume their procession towards communion shared at the altar railing. Then they would turn around and begin their journey homeward, pausing for a final prayer and a blessing before continuing on their way. These simple actions become life-long habits and form who we are in gentle ways that tell the profound stories of our lives (text adapted from the introduction to Come into the Light). That church was built as an expression of the faith and of the mysteries once celebrated there, but it has long since been closed and re-opened as a museum. The church’s liturgy, however, has been renewed and calls for renewed places of worship so that the beautiful harmony that once existed between that liturgy and edifice may also be achieved in our time as we celebrate liturgy in churches build in our own age. Because liturgy is a unitary and organic whole, its renewal was based on fundamental principles that enlivened the whole, as an organism, in all its structures and parts. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) that mandated the liturgical renewal did not, however, also give a clear blueprint for the design of church buildings to suit the renewed liturgy – the Council of Trent (1545-1563) gave none – because the church finds a home in every people and cultural expression. Pastors rightly have a hand in renovating or designing new churches, and their pastoral insights gained from celebrating the renewed liturgy have proven invaluable. Some architects have begun to develop their own understanding of the liturgy which corresponds to the style of building they wish to design. These typically focus on a few elements such as a central altar, a tabernacle placed front and center, a dominant crucifix and a particular arrangement of pews. The voice of the liturgical scholar has been lacking in this dialogue with the result that a more comprehensive account of architecture and the arts for the celebration of liturgy has not yet emerged. Developing the contribution of liturgical scholarship would enable liturgists, architects and pastors to contribute from their own source of wisdom and experience.
the light by Fr. Daniel McCarthy
Published on Jul 11, 2016
Published on Jul 11, 2016
In this issue of Kansas Monks we look at the missionary spirit of the monks of St. Benedict's Abbey; hear the story of Fr. Damian Beyou Kuuk...