New website showcases sacred, liturgical art

A website launched yesterday aims to deepen people’s appreciation of sacred art by featuring Australian artists and liturgical art in its various forms.

The new website, art.catholic.org.au, is a work of the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Council (NLAAC). It was launched virtually during the plenary meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Work on the website began in 2019 and has led to the preparation and publication of almost 30 articles that examine items as diverse as stained-glass windows and liturgical vessels, as well as sculptures and churches.

All the content is written by Australians and each article has a clear Australian link, featuring artists, architects and works in Australia.

Fr Tom Elich, the chair of the NLAAC, said the current set of articles will be added to regularly, to produce an extensive database and reference point for Catholic art.

“We have taken a broad view of Catholic art because the Church has not adopted any particular style or form of art as its own,” Fr Elich said.

“Whatever is good and true contributes a noble beauty to acts of worship. It leads to a new appreciation of the infinite beauty of the Creator God.”

The NLAAC hopes the website will be of benefit to a wide range of people, including parishes renewing liturgical spaces, for architects and artists, for students and researchers, and lovers of art.

“Engagement with sacred art is almost as old as the Catholic Church, and has been a great tool for faith education through the centuries,” Fr Elich said.

“This site seeks to continue that long tradition, using our current means of communication.”

Archbishop Patrick O’Regan, the chair of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy, launched the website virtually, with members of the NLAAC joining members of the Bishops Conference online.

“The National Liturgical Architecture and Art Council has completed a number of key projects in recent years, including books on church buildings and on the stewardship and renewal of places of worship,” he said.

“The Australian Catholic Liturgical Art website is another significant contribution to the Church in Australia, helping promote the work of some wonderful local artists and educate the faithful along the way.”

Archbishop O’Regan acknowledged the efforts of Liturgy Brisbane, where Fr Elich has been director for many years, and the Bishops Conference’s digital technology office for developing the website.

“May their diligence and generosity be rewarded with a warm reception and strong interest,” he said.

The NLAAC welcomes additional suggested contributions for the website and can be sent to tech@catholic.org.au for consideration by the Council.

Access the website at: www.art.catholic.org.au