Built of Living Stones 199-200: The Liturgical Consultants

The liturgical consultant is a key professional, especially if the architect is less acquainted with the demands of liturgy. And sometimes, even if she or he is.

§ 199 § The construction of a church building cannot be undertaken without proper professionals in a variety of fields. When a parish begins to undertake the building or renovation of a liturgical space, the parish building committee should obtain the services of specialists in liturgical design. lt is the responsibility of the liturgical consultant to assist the pastor, the staff, and the entire parish with continuing education about the importance, role, and value of worship, and the impact of the church building upon worship.

§ 200 § The liturgical consultant also works with the architect. Some architects are liturgical architects. They possess, in addition to their architectural credentials, artistic insights and formal liturgical education that equip them to engage in liturgical design. However, this is not always the case. The liturgical consultant(s) selected by the parish work with the architect and other members of the design team from the earliest stages of the process to help them apply the principles and norms of liturgical design to the practical and liturgical needs of the parish being served. This includes an examination of the acoustics, the flow and movement for processions, appropriate styles for liturgical celebrations, the interrelationships within the Eucharist as well as the relationship of the Eucharist with the other sacraments, and all the elements required by the Church’s liturgy. In addition, the consultant may have expertise in design and can help to coordinate the design and fabrication of appropriate furniture and other objects to be used during liturgical services, as well as the liturgical art to be placed within the church.

Liturgical consultants, in some quarters, were among the most-hated of the liturgists about ten to twenty years ago. A few publications and web sites kept the fires burning on this for awhile. This has died down somewhat in my experience. But it would be a curiosity to me to know a parish that didn’t want good liturgical guidance on matters as important as the worship life of a community for the next century. I’m glad that the US bishops suggest here the importance of catechesis on worship, processions, interior design, and other artistic considerations.

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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