Mar 7 – Built of Living Stones

Peggy Lovrien The steps in the sanctuary of our church challenge or prevent some members of our community from fully participating in our celebration of the Eucharist. Fr. Mark formed an ad hoc committee to develop a plan for a worship space all on one level within our church. As a catechetical kickoff for this project the ad hoc committee invited Ms. Peggy Lovrien, Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Liturgy, to speak to us. This morning Ms. Lovrien presented us with an overview of the USCCB document Built of Living Stones on the principles of the use of liturgical space. This introduction provides us with a basic understanding and common language to guide our reflections on the configuration of our sanctuary within our church.

The steps in the sanctuary of our church deter some brothers from participating in the liturgy as ministers, gift bearers, and incense bearers. The steps also challenge several of our main celebrants and concelebrants. Some members of the community cannot negotiate the steps at all. The ad hoc committee’s task is to deliver to the community for consideration and eventual adoption a plan for the sanctuary in our church that is entirely on the same level as the choir stalls. This plan will include the altar, presider’s chair, lectern, cross, candles, and the Salve icon. The plan will be for the long haul, not temporary; solid and not portable.

Ms. Peggy Lovrien has been Director of the Office of the Liturgy in the Archdiocese of Dubuque since 2010. In the past, she worked in Minnesota with Frank Kacmarcik and is personally acquainted with his principle of design. Frank Kacmarcik designed the 1970s renovation that resulted in the award-winning church we worship in today.

Built of LIVING STONES – Art, Architecture, and Worship

In this statement on church art and environment, the bishops address the needs of parishes and dioceses as they engage in building or renovating churches. The document includes a theological reflection on the liturgy and liturgical architecture, an outline of essential liturgical principles, a description of the practical elements involved in the building or renovation process, and suggestions on including art in worship spaces.