Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 10, 2010
Creating sacred space 'an exalted mission' – cardinal
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON - Church architecture has an "esteemed heritage and promising future," Cardinal Justin Rigali has told a conference on sacred architecture.
Architects who create sacred spaces have "a vocation and a mission" and perform "important work that serves to express our response to God," Rigali said April 30.
Artists and architects who work on Church projects "open themselves to the light of sacred tradition," and "prepare a dwelling place that becomes a fitting sanctuary," he said. Such work, when created "in the light of faith," becomes "an exalted mission."
Calling the Catholic faith "a mystery both timely and timeless," Rigali said architects of sacred space help the faithful gather for "prayerful reflection in God's presence."
He encouraged architects and artists who work in the name of the Church to allow their talents to be formed by a "unique relationship with God."
"God is the divine architect. His first act - after creating man - was to develop a suitable place for man to dwell," he said. "The call of God always reflects his loving design."
Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, was the keynote speaker at a symposium at The Catholic University of America.
"God never neglects time and space," the cardinal said. "He allows and encourages mortal finite beings to call his name. He summons us to sacred space."
Rigali reminded the symposium participants that their "learning, dedication and skill serve to direct us to the eternal and living God."
Symposium participants included architects, theologians, teachers, artists, liturgical consultants, clergy and others.
Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Rigali said all sacred art and architecture is "true and beautiful" when it reflects "the transcendent mystery of God."
Noting the long tradition of sacred architecture, the cardinal said the Christian faith has long inspired artistic creations.
The construction of cathedrals provide "an upward surge and an invitation to prayer," he said. Such sacred spaces enable the faithful "to be directed to the fundamental, grace-filled action of God."
The "great works" of cathedrals and churches, he said, "are a luminous sign of God - a manifestation, an epiphany of God."
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