Assumption Building Campaign Corner

08/07/2016 - Why do we have artwork in the church?


The following official Catholic Church documents can help us to more fully understand why a Catholic Church has sacred artwork within its walls and perhaps
surrounding it as well.

Sacrosanctum Concilium
Constitution on the Liturgy
December 1963

Chapter VII - Sacred Art and Sacred Furnishings 122. Very rightly the fine arts are considered to rank among the noblest activities of man’s genius, and this applies especially to religious art and to its highest achievement, which is sacred art. These arts, by their very nature, are oriented toward the infinite beauty of God which they attempt in some way to portray by the work of human hands; they achieve their purpose of redounding to God’s praise and glory in proportion as they are directed the more exclusively to the single aim of turning men’s minds devoutly toward God.

Holy Mother Church has therefore always been the friend of the fine arts and has ever sought their noble help, with the special aim that all things set apart for use in divine worship should be truly worthy, becoming, and beautiful, signs and symbols of the supernatural world, and for this purpose she has trained artists. In fact, the Church has, with good reason, always reserved to herself the right to pass judgment upon the arts, deciding which of the works of artists are in accordance with faith, piety, and cherished traditional laws, and thereby fitted for sacred use.

The Church has been particularly careful to see that sacred furnishings should worthily and beautifully serve the dignity of worship, and has admitted changes in materials, style, or ornamentation prompted by the progress of the technical arts with the passage of time. Wherefore it has pleased the Fathers to issue the following decrees on these matters.


123. The Church has not adopted any particular style of art as her very own; she has admitted styles from every period according to the natural talents and circumstances of peoples, and the needs of the various rites. Thus, in the course of the centuries, she has brought into being a treasury of art which must be very carefully preserved. The art of our own days, coming from every race and region, shall also be given free scope in the Church, provided that it adorns the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honor; thereby it is enabled to contribute its own voice to that  wonderful chorus of praise in honor of the Catholic faith sung by great men in times gone by.


124. Ordinaries, by the encouragement and favor they show to art which is truly sacred, should strive after noble beauty rather than mere sumptuous display. This principle is to apply also in the matter of sacred vestments and ornaments.

Let bishops carefully remove from the House of God and from other sacred places those works of artists which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety, and which offend true religious sense either by depraved forms or by lack of artistic worth, mediocrity and pretense.

And when churches are to be built, let great care be taken that they be suitable for the celebration of liturgical services and for the active participation of the faithful.

125. The practice of placing sacred images in churches so that they may be venerated by the faithful is to be maintained. Nevertheless their number should be
moderate and their relative positions should reflect right order. For otherwise they may create confusion among the Christian people and foster devotion of doubtful orthodoxy.

126. When passing judgment on works of art, local ordinaries shall give a hearing to the diocesan commission on sacred art and, if needed, also to others who are especially expert, and to the commissions referred to in Art. 44, 45, and 46.

Ordinaries must be very careful to see that sacred furnishings and works of value are not disposed of or dispersed; for they are the ornaments of the house of

127. Bishops should have a special concern for artists, so as to imbue them with the spirit of sacred art and of the Sacred Liturgy. This they may do in person or through suitable priests who are gifted with a knowledge and love of art. It is also desirable that schools or academies of sacred art should be founded in those parts of the world where they would be useful, so that artists may be trained.

All artists who, prompted by their talents, desire to serve God’s glory in Holy Church, should ever bear in mind that they are engaged in a kind of sacred imitation of God the Creator, and are concerned with works destined to be used in Catholic worship, to edify the faithful, and to foster their piety and their religious formation. 

…continued next week…

07/31/16 - Why do we have artwork in the church?

The following official Catholic Church documents can help us to more fully understand why a Catholic Church has sacred artwork within its walls and perhaps surrounding it as well. 

Sacramentum Caritatis Pope Benedict XVI - February 22, 2007

Art at the service of the liturgy The profound connection between beauty and the liturgy should make us attentive to every work of art placed at the service of the celebration. Certainly an important element of sacred art is church architecture, which should highlight the unity of the furnishings of the sanctuary, such as the altar, the crucifix, the tabernacle, the ambo and the celebrant’s chair. Here it is important to remember that the purpose of sacred architecture is to offer the Church a fitting space for the celebration of the mysteries of faith, especially the Eucharist. The very nature of a Christian church is defined by the liturgy, which is an assembly of the faithful (ecclesia) who are the living stones of the Church (cf. I Pet 2:5).

This same principle holds true for sacred art in general, especially painting and sculpture, where religious iconography should be directed to sacramental mystagogy. A solid knowledge of the history of sacred art can be advantageous for those responsible for commissioning artists and architects to create works of art for the liturgy. Consequently it is essential that the education of seminarians and priests include the study of art history, with special reference to sacred buildings and the corresponding liturgical norms. Everything related to the Eucharist should be marked by beauty. Special respect and care must also be given to the vestments, the furnishings and the sacred vessels, so that by their harmonious and orderly arrangement they will foster awe for the mystery of God, manifest the unity of the faith and strengthen devotion.

…continued next week…

07/24/16 - The Need to make Church’s Beautiful Again
by Art Lohsen
It’s happening all over America. Pastors and dioceses are phoning to say that they need their post Vatican II church renovated to be more  traditional, more beautiful, more Catholic. Whether it is the sanctuary that houses a lonely presider’s chair instead of a crucifix and  tabernacle, or the hexagonal or circular church that has neither Catholic identity nor constitutes sacred space, it is apparent there is a new wave returning to the ancient norms of the Church.
While many parishes were well-intended in their aim to fulfill an initial interpretation of the Vatican II documents, many churches were built in a manner that destroyed centuries of understanding about the impact, meaning, and sanctity of the Mass. There is actually a keen appreciation for the impo rtance of tradition in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Rather than calling for the wholesale rejection of the past, Sacrosanctum Concilium calls for the careful preservation of the treasury of Church art and architecture. It calls for “noble beauty rather than sumptuous display” (SC 124). Thus the importance of true beauty — as distinct from frivolous ornament — is confirmed, and it is to this true beauty that priests and parishes alike are drawn.
Beauty has been marginalized as an expensive luxury, not a vital necessity. As the appreciation of beauty faded over the last five decades,  the ability to achieve it has atrophied, and pastors seeking to build a church are often told that beauty is not important, cannot be
achieved on a limited budget, or that a different def
inition of beauty is now appr
opriate. Much of the Church’s 
patrimony has been lost or destroyed; however, 
the pool of classically minded architects and 
artists is small, but 
Saint John Paul II, in his 1999 Letter to Artists, states that “In a certain sense, beauty is the visible form of the good, jusas the good is the metaphysical condition of beauty” (§3). Thus the beauty that is perceived by Man’s senses is a means of physically experiencing the goodness of God. This is the foretaste of heaven, the ability to perceive in the senses as well as the mind the ultimate perfection toward which Man constantly struggles. A church building therefore must be beautiful, or it cannot provide this direct sensory and spiritual encounter with God.
True beauty can still be achieved by those who can articulate its true nature and defend its necessity in Catholic worship. While the lack of beauty in most contemporary churches is being broadly lamented, the effort to restore beauty in the Church takes patient endurance. It is possible to bridge the modern with time-honored traditions. Beautiful churches are not only possible, they are the most responsible way to build. Given limited funds — and funds are usually limited — a church should be built to last for the long term, which means it must be aesthetically timeless as well as solidly built. There are architects and art-ists who understand this, who can work within the traditions of the Church to create beautiful churches that will meet contemporary liturgical and functional needs in a transcendent and truly sacred space. The Church is entering an exciting period of renewal in which beauty will be increasingly appreciated and achieved. 
It seems that it is now time to focus on some practical solutions to help pastors, parish committees, and diocesan officials achieve this bridge between the awkward churches they have inherited and the transcendent Catholic beauty they desire. Most priests are not skilled as facility managers, and yet are faced with enormous building challenges as they become assigned as pastors of parishes. Most pastors understand what it is they need and are willing to undertake the challenge of restoring a sense of the sacred in their churches and other buildings.
But they also need professional guidance, which takes time and money — both of which are usually in short supply. A classically trained architect understands the confluence of many characteristics including proportion, scale, symmetry, detail, material, and color. To that list, one must also add what Pope Benedict aptly deemed the “hermeneutic of continuity.” The direct and literal connections to the traditions of the Church is what a professional architect can help achieve. The architects, artists, and tradesmen who are capable of producing beautiful churches are out there, and in most cases quit e busy. The restoration of traditional Catholic beauty in our churches has become a real and growing renaissance, and it is always a joy to see the results reach fruition! 
07/17/16 - What Does A Church Building Mean?
 --by Denis McNamara
A church building is first and foremost an image of Christ and His Mystical Body, with all that this claim implies.
In the Old Testament, the Temple was a symbolic building composed of stones quarried by priests, which formed the place where God dwelt with His people. Its interior was of mythical time and space, an image of the glorified earth, and even heaven itself. In the New Testament, the Christian community is called “God’s  building” because the people are now members of the 
Mystical Body of Christ, 
the place where God dwells 
with humanity.
The church building, then, is a sacrament of God reconciled with humanity, as the Catechism tells us (No. 1180). It is made up of many members, such as bricks, stones, and steel beams, all arranged within an eschatological glory to provide a place where God dwells with humanity. Just as we say the altar “is” Christ, so we can say that the church building is a great sacrament of Christ’s many members assembled in their heavenly glory. Just like the heavenly liturgy, the church building is centered on Christ, glorified, perfected, filled with angels and saints, radiant with light and an image of the new heaven and new earth.
Traditionally designed church buildings are generally made up of two primary parts: sanctuary and nave. The sanctuary is the architectural and artistic image of heaven, which explains why the altar and tabernacle are usually located there, and the rear wall of the apse is traditionally the place of a great liturgical image of Christ in glory. The nave is the image of the restored earth, no longer subject to the effects of the Fall. Together they form a unit where heaven and earth “kiss” at the point where the nave and sanctuary meet, just as a priest reaches across from sanctuary to nave to distribute communion — the moment when God and human beings “kiss” in intimate union. So if you look at a             well-ornamented church, it is very common to see plant motifs all around in sculpture and paintings, indicating the restored earth....
The job of the liturgical artist is to use the matter of creation — paint, stone, go ld, glass, whatever — to reveal the “heavenly realities.” ... So the artist’s job is to use matter to reveal and make present the heavenly realities.... I think we are on the verge of the time when people will take the sacramental role of art much more seriously. It is really a great time to be building churches! We should thank God that we are the inheritors of the great scholars of the Liturgical Movement and the insights of the Council. 

Letter From Father Noesen


Please Click Letter for PDF Version

Let us pray for our Building Campaign:

God our Father, giver of all gifts, humbly we ask the intercession
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patron Saint of our Parish.

You chose Her  to be the Mother of Your Son and our Mother as well.
May You ask Her to watch over us  and our Building Campaign.

Through Her prayers, may our needs  be provided for, and our projects
in the Campaign be brought to completion in accordance with Your Divine Will.

Inspire a spirit of generosity and sacrifice in the hearts of all our parishioners.

May all we do build up our Parish Family of Faith,
bring honor to Your Holy Catholic Church, and give You glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

O Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us…That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!