Built of Living Stones 32: Many Gifts, One Design

BLS 32-37 covers the third principle, that “the design of the church building reflects the roles of the participants.” 

§ 32 § The design of the church building reflects the various roles of the participants. Since the liturgical celebration is an action of Christ and the Church, it belongs to the whole Body of the Church.(GIRM 294) While all the members are called to participate in worship, not all have the same role.(Cf. SC, 14 and 26; Presbyterorum Ordinis 2; Lumen Gentium 28; GIRM 4, 58, and 60) From the earliest days of the Church, the Holy Spirit has called forth members to serve in a variety of ministries. That same Spirit continues to call the members to various ministries today and to bestow gifts necessary for the good of the community.(Cf. 1 Cor 12:27-28)

Only the last note references Saint Paul, but this whole paragraph is solidly rooted in the apostle’s understanding of an original “theology of the body,” namely that the spiritual gifts of a community guide its liturgical functioning. A variety of ministries? That’s biblical. You can’t cite rubrics or canon law that supercedes that. What BLS is underscoring here is that the actual design of a building must accommodate these various liturgical ministries. You don’t design just for the clergy. Or the musicians. You design for all, and count on a creativity in design, planning, and construction to accommodate all. That’s easier for a new building. It can be a challenge for a renovation.

In the next few posts, we’ll examine what BLS has to say about specific ministries. But this is enough for today. Any thoughts?

All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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