Thursday, February 08, 2007

Parish Church Redesign... on a budget

A thought struck me about doing one of my periodic calls to our readership, about what they are doing either to make their "Tridentine" indult liturgy that much fuller and more solemn in their local area, or to those working in the context of the modern Roman liturgy, what they are doing to help "reform the reform" in their parishes.

However, in thinking of that, another idea came to mind. We have talked numerous times on here that there are two particularly important issues that can be dealt with now in terms of "reforming the reform", and that can significantly re-orient the liturgy.

One is the precisely the orientation of the priest during liturgical prayer. The other is sacred music. These, more than issues like the placement of the tabernacle, etc. effect in a significant way the spirit of the liturgy.

However, another important aspect is the focal point of the liturgy: the sanctuary and the altar. But of course, not every parish is made equal on this level. Many are newer and others are old but didn't survive the 1970's and the hermeneutic of rupture that existed therein in particular.

But of course, significant restorations or counter-renovations are quite costly ventures. Also, doing some things can require the permission of diocesan officials -- which, depending upon the diocesan climate, is not always desirable or possible.

However, there are things that are less costly which can be done, but which could significantly shift the liturgical ethos of a parish back into a more traditional direction, and with a minimum amount of fuss, work, or change.

I want to make a proposal to parish priests who have the ability and will to implement such changes. If you have been considering your sanctuaries, your altars and what not, and have been seriously considering what you might be able to do while keeping costs at a minimum -- but which would have maximum, positive liturgical impact -- please send me picture of the inside of your church. What I mean is the typical parish church shot, taken from the centre aisle (or from the centre at any rate), which shows the entire sanctuary, taken either from ground level, or from a choir loft.

My thought is this, I will take your photograph, then either publically here or privately in email (which is your option) we will discuss what can be done. What's better, if it is feasible, we will actually modify your photograph to show a "before" and theorized "after" so that the effects of such a re-design can be seen.

I think it would be an interesting exercise, and if it helps some parishes out, all the better.

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