Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee


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Church Renewal: The Entrances as Functional Spaces

Carmel Bulletin, 18 October 2015

Church Renewal ProcessWithin the design concept for the renewal of our church, new doors will improve the flow of movement between the church and parish centre, as well as the natural light under the choir gallery.

Light is a natural symbol of the presence of Christ.  We are fortunate to have a church that is abundant with natural light, reminding us of the heavenly light and warmth of God the creator.  This is less apparent under the choir gallery; the imposition of the gallery and the closed former entry doors limiting the light in that space.  The glass doors proposed to replace the current entry doors will provide much more light in this area.

The same doors will be positioned further forward than the current doors.  This will allow us to expand the area at the entrance, improve the sense of transition between exterior and interior, and provide space that will help support people’s personal and devotional prayer.  A new awning at the entrance will ensure that the entrance remains adequately sheltered.

Entrance Procession

The doorways of a church need to be large enough to accommodate a proper procession with all its requirements. Photo © Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

To be suitable for a procession of vested ministers led by a processional cross held high, the entrance is designed with appropriate gravitas.

And when churches are to be built (national guidelines for the building of churches), article 215

Something we have learned from using our parish centre is that the doorways between it and the church are narrow and too short to accommodate a liturgical procession (making sure the door frame doesn’t collect the processional cross on the way through is an art our servers have had to perfect!).  The new doors for our church will be designed with greater proportions to better serve this ritual action, and again improve the flow of movement of people in and out of the church.

You can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal


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Church Renewal: Reflecting the Importance of the Entrances

Carmel Bulletin, 11 October 2015

Church Renewal ProcessWithin the design concept for the renewal of our church, new doors will improve the flow of movement between the church and parish centre, as well as the natural light under the choir gallery.

Architecturally and symbolically, doorways and thresholds are significant places, linking two different kinds of space.  In a church, the transitional or liminal space of the narthex marks the movement from introductory activities and rituals to the sacred action of the liturgy itself where the Body of Christ is constituted for worship and where the people enter into the mystery of God’s saving action.

And when churches are to be built (national guidelines for the building of churches), article 213

Door, Abbey Church, Montecassino

Door from the Benedictine Abbey Church of Montecassino, Italy – clearly not a door you would find for sale in your local hardware store!

The new glass doors that we propose to install are of glass construction, with a decorative metalwork screen.  The glass will let light into the church, and allow passers-by to see inside, which will help to make the entrances and the church more inviting.  The metal screens on the doors relate directly to original design plans for the church, and provide a design that sets them apart from other common doors. This will help to define the church as a special, sacred space with a particular purpose, and highlight the church doors as an important point of transition and movement into a house of prayer.

You can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal


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Church Renewal: The Entrances

Carmel Bulletin, 4 October 2015

Church Renewal ProcessFr Paul is currently sharing with everyone the design concept for the renewal of our church.  In developing the concept, we asked the architect, Jesse Mowbray, to improve the flow of movement between the church and parish centre, as well as the natural light under the choir gallery.

The Church’s Book of Blessings (article 1216) reminds us of the importance of the church doors:

In the liturgical celebrations of baptism, marriage, and funerals provision is made for a rite of reception at the doors of the church. On certain days of the liturgical year, the faithful pass through these doors in procession into the body of the church. It is proper, then, that in construction, design, and decoration church doors should stand as a symbol of Christ, who said: “I am the door, whoever enters through me will be safe,” and of those who have followed the path of holiness that leads to the dwelling place of God.

The entrance to the church has a liturgical purpose and function, as is demonstrated we celebrate Palm Sunday each year.  They serve as means of helping us make the transition from the world into a house of prayer, and back out to proclaim the Good News.  On countless occasions over the centuries, church doors have also been a source of protection, keeping out those who threaten the Christian faith and providing sanctuary to those within.  As such, the entrance to the church is more than just a set of doors!

You can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal


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Church Renewal: The Shape of the Baptismal Font

Carmel Bulletin, 27 September 2015

Church Renewal ProcessFr Paul is currently sharing with everyone the design concept for the renewal of our church.  One feature of this design is the provision of a new fixed, dignified space for the celebration of baptism.

For if we have been united with [Christ Jesus] in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)

LM-16

Baptismal font, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland (California, USA; photo by Kenny Phung on flickr)

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(photo by Daniel Kedinger on flickr)

Photo 30-04-12 12 30 35 AM

Baptismal font, Salisbury Anglican Cathedral (England)

Baptismal fonts have been formed in different shapes over the course of history, each revealing something of our belief in baptism being a sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Round baptismal fonts are symbolic of the womb and remind us that through baptism, we are reborn into new life with Christ.  Square or rectangular fonts seek to evoke the image of the tomb; they teach us that sharing in the resurrection of Christ comes only through sharing in his death. Cruciform (cross-shaped) fonts also illustrate how our sharing in Jesus’ death leads to salvation and glory.

Baptismal Font and Paschal Candle

(photo by Alan Creech on flickr)

Another shape that has a long tradition in the design of baptismal fonts is the octagon.  The eight-sided shape is used as a direct reference to the eighth day which is Sunday, the Lord’s Day – the day of the resurrection.  Our proposed octagonal-shaped font with round bowl will be fabricated in stone and metal to specifically relate to the original design plans for the church, and to the proposed design of the altar and ambo.

You can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal


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Church Renewal: The Baptismal Font and the Church Entrances

Carmel Bulletin, 20 September 2015

Church Renewal ProcessFr Paul is currently sharing with everyone the design concept for the renewal of our church.  One feature of this design is the provision of a new fixed, dignified space for the celebration of baptism.

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people” (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

 Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, article 14 (emphasis added)

Whenever we enter the church, we bless ourselves with holy water.  It reminds us of our baptism; a baptism that initiates us into the death and resurrection of Christ and into the Christian Church.  The liturgical celebrations of the Church are celebrated in the name of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Only those of us who are baptised can participate in them fully.

At our cathedral (St Patrick’s, Parramatta) the assembly enters through the narthex and arrives at the baptismal font. Here, people bless themselves with baptismal water before continuing into the cathedral

The blessing of ourselves with water becomes an even stronger and more obvious reminder of our baptism when we bless ourselves directly from the baptismal font.  We will be led directly to the proposed location of the baptismal font from whichever door we enter the church.  From here, we will bless ourselves with its water, reminding ourselves of our baptism; the same baptism by which we have not only the right, but the duty to participate in the public worship of the people of God.

You can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal


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Church Renewal: The Placement of the Baptismal Font

Carmel Bulletin, 13 September 2015

Church Renewal ProcessFr Paul is currently sharing with everyone the design concept for the renewal of our church.  One feature of this design is the provision of a new fixed, dignified space for the celebration of baptism.

The font should be free-standing so that the family and ministers can gather around it.  It should be visible to the assembly who will frequently participate in the celebration of baptism.  The font located in the midst of the liturgical assembly speaks of the common priesthood of the faithful…

And when churches are to be built (national guidelines for the building of churches), article 394

Locating the baptistery at the intersection of the church aisles will make it clearly visible, and provide space for the celebration of the sacrament, and for those participating in baptism celebrations to sit to stand near the font (aided also by some reconfiguration of seating).  At the Easter Vigil, the elect will be baptised in the midst of the Church into which they are being initiated; the Church that shares in Christ’s death and resurrection and thus also in the priestly duty of offering sacrifice and praying to God for the needs of humanity.

Baptism is the first sacrament, the way by which people enter the Catholic Church.  The font will be clearly visible from each entrance, and those entering the church are led directly to the font.

A clear relationship between the font and the church entrance expresses the fact that this sacrament of Christian initiation brings the baptised person into the Church which celebrates the liturgy.

And when churches are to be built, article 395

You can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal


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Church Renewal: Reflecting the Importance and Dignity of Baptism

Carmel Bulletin, 6 September 2013

Church Renewal ProcessLast weekend, Fr Paul shared with everyone the design concept for the renewal of our church.  This brings to completion a thorough period of parishioner formation, consultation and planning.

As articulated in the guiding concepts for this process, one intention within this process is to reflect as much as possible the liturgical principles of the Second Vatican Council.  We asked the architect, Jesse Mowbray, to ensure that a fixed, dignified space was provided for the celebration of baptism.

The Church’s General Introduction to Christian Initiation (no 25) states that

the baptistery or the area where the baptismal font is located should be reserved for the sacrament of baptism and should be worthy to serve as the place where Christians are reborn in water and the Holy Spirit.

The Book of Blessings affirms this, saying that

the baptistery or site of the baptismal font is rightly considered to be one of the most important parts of a church” (no 1080).

The importance of the Sacrament of Baptism as the first sacrament means that it should have a dedicated space for its celebration, which includes a fixed, gracefully constructed font.  Our current baptistery doesn’t work as the place where baptisms are celebrated, but rather where the (moveable) baptismal font is stored when baptisms aren’t celebrated.

The newly proposed space for the baptistery will provide dedicated space for the celebration of Baptism.  It will stand as a sign to all of the importance we give to this sacrament.  Next week, we will look at why we have proposed the specific location at the centre of the church.  In the meantime, you can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal.