An upcoming symposium at Australian Catholic University aims to study the relationship of liturgy and architecture, and takes the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland as a model for church architecture. “The symposium is about making architecture and art for Catholic worship,” a Jan. 16 release of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference press office stated. With the theme “God is in the Detail,” The National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board (NLAAB) and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne will host the symposium on the “process of church design” at the ACU Melbourne campus Feb. 11—13, 2015. The keynote addresses at the symposium will be delivered by the architect and liturgist who were instrumental in the design and inauguration of the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California: Craig Hartman, of Skidmore Owings & Merrill in San Francisco, and Fr. Paul Minnihan of the Diocese of Oakland. The Australian bishop’s press office described that the symposium is intended for architects, artists, liturgists, clergy, teachers, church design consultants, theologians, academics, researchers, diocesan property officers, architecture and theology students, parishioners, and members of other Catholic communities, and all who are interested in church design today. Organizers hope the symposium will facilitate a conversation about the essential importance and relationship between liturgy and architecture in both designing new churches and redesigning existing churches. Fr Stephen Hackett, chair of the NLAAB, said the “Cathedral of Christ the Light is one of the great contemporary works of sacred architecture, bringing together tradition and innovation.” Fr. Hackett added that “designed for the liturgy, the Cathedral of Christ the Light will be a key focus and point of reference during the symposium.” Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide endorsed the importance of the symposium, saying, “I believe this is a very important moment for the whole Church in Australia to increase its understanding and competency in liturgical architecture and art.” The event will also include the launch of “And When Churches are to be built: Preparation, Planning and Construction of Places of Worship,” a document of the Australian bishops conference on sacred architecture. The document is being prepared for publication by Liturgy Brisbane and is inspired by Sacrosanctum concilium, Vatican II's constitution on the sacred liturgy. Fr. Tom Elich, who was on the drafting committee of the document, stated, “it will be invaluable for the Australian Church to have an accessible reference document, which can be used by clergy, parish planning teams and architects.” “It collects together many ideas and principles necessary not only for building new churches, but also for evaluating and renovating existing liturgical spaces,” he said.
Catholic News Agency was founded in 2004, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization." It is an apostolate of EWTN News.