Building for the Liturgy

Fr Stephen Hackett MSC and Mr Harry Stephens

Fr Stephen Hackett MSC and Mr Harry Stephens

A seminar on the relationship between architecture and liturgy in Catholic church design took place at the Secretariat of the Bishops Conference on January 11 and 12.

The two day seminar, ‘Building for the Liturgy’, surveyed the history of church architecture, with particular emphasis on architectural principles and the evolution of the liturgical setting. The Seminar also addressed the challenge of reordering older churches for the celebration of the liturgy today.

The seminar focused on the foundations of Christian architecture, liturgical architecture from the New Testament to the 20th century liturgical movement, the challenge of contemporary architecture for designing churches and liturgical architecture after Vatican II.

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Seminar participants gathered at McGilvray House, ACBC Secretariat, Canberra on January 11

The seminar is an initiative of the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board, an advisory body to the Bishops Commission for Liturgy. The seminar was led by Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and Mr Harry Stephens, a partner of Sacred Space Architects, designing and consulting on liturgical architecture. 

Bishop of Rockhampton, Most Rev Michael McCarthy joined ten clergy participants for the small group seminar. A number of case studies with particular architectural designs were reviewed during the seminar including, the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres, Chartes, France, St Benedictusberg Abbey, Vaals, Netherlands, St Joseph’s Church, Malvern, Victoria and St John the Baptist Church, Woy Woy, NSW. 

IMG_2514The seminar was intended for clergy who are, or may soon be, involved in a church building or renovation project, or who are interested in liturgical architecture and would like the opportunity to explore it.

Over the coming months, the seminar may be offered to other groups – lay, religious, clergy – and in other places – dioceses, cities, parishes – if requested.

Source :

ACBC Communications