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Liturgical Press

Building from Belief

Advance, Retreat, and Compromise in the Remaking of Catholic Church Architecture

Michael E. DeSanctis

Building from Belief
Building from Belief

ISBN: 9780814627556, 2755

Details: 128 pgs, 7 x 10
Publication Date: 04/01/2002
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$24.95
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Imagine what Sundays in a parish could be if worshiping communities are assured that the liturgy in their spaces might be a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy. Or what town-hall meetings could also be in a place where parish committees are inspired to know that they can be the instruments of truth and beauty. The essays in Building from Belief focus on Catholic church architecture and invite those who are involved in the creation of worship space to be "the world's memory of what beauty looks like, and what sanctity feels like."

In Building from Belief, Michael DeSanctis treats a variety of topics that concern the creation and use of liturgical space. He brings the historical development of both the Church and its architecture into clear view and focuses on the need for catechesis and conversion. DeSanctis calls for a change of heart on the part of the worshiping community, the building committee, professionals involved in the design process, and of the Church. By keeping the theological concepts of grace and sacramentality in mind, he offers rich insights to these fundamental Christian realities and provides hope and excitement about using the gifts of beauty, grace, and holiness.

The essays in Building from Belief are an invitation to build the promised kingdom, allowing the grace of God into our hearts and in our spaces. DeSanctis encourages those who embark on the journey of building to ask the same question that the Fathers of Vatican II asked: how to be Church in a modern world. He shows that the worship that rises from our communities is indeed a true expression of that belief.

Chapters under Part I are “Beauty, Holiness and Liturgical Space,” “Catholic Sacramentality and the Reform of Sacred Architecture,” “The Pastoral Dimension of Church Renovation,” “Let’s Stop Renovating Church Buildings (And Start Renovating the Church),” and “Coming to Terms with Modern Design.” Chapters under Part II are “Worshiping in ‘Noplace’: Casual Observations on Liturgy in the Second Machine Age,” “Images By Which We Live and Build,” and “The Quest for ‘Noble Simplicity.’” Includes eight pages of full-color photographs with black-and-white photographs and illustrations throughout. Imagine what Sundays in a parish could be if worshiping communities are assured that the liturgy in their spaces might be a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy. Or what town-hall meetings could also be in a place where parish committees are inspired to know that they can be the instruments of truth and beauty. The essays in Building from Belief focus on Catholic church architecture and invite those who are involved in the creation of worship space to be “the world’s memory of what beauty looks like, and what sanctity feels like.”

In Building from Belief, Michael DeSanctis treats a variety of topics that concern the creation and use of liturgical space. He brings the historical development of both the Church and its architecture into clear view and focuses on the need for catechesis and conversion. DeSanctis calls for a change of heart on the part of the worshiping community, the building committee, professionals involved in the design process, and of the Church. By keeping the theological concepts of grace and sacramentality in mind, he offers rich insights to these fundamental Christian realities and provides hope and excitement about using the gifts of beauty, grace, and holiness.

The essays in Building from Belief are an invitation to build the promised kingdom, allowing the grace of God into our hearts and in our spaces. DeSanctis encourages those who embark on the journey of building to ask the same question that the Fathers of Vatican II asked: how to be Church in a modern world. He shows that the worship that rises from our communities is indeed a true expression of that belief.

Chapters under Part I are “Beauty, Holiness and Liturgical Space,” “Catholic Sacramentality and the Reform of Sacred Architecture,” “The Pastoral Dimension of Church Renovation,” “Let’s Stop Renovating Church Buildings (And Start Renovating the Church),” and “Coming to Terms with Modern Design.” Chapters under Part II are “Worshiping in ‘Noplace’: Casual Observations on Liturgy in the Second Machine Age,” “Images By Which We Live and Build,” and “The Quest for ‘Noble Simplicity.’” Includes eight pages of full-color photographs with black-and-white photographs and illustrations throughout.

Michael E. DeSanctis, PhD, is a liturgical design consultant, author, and associate professor of fine arts at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.

ISBN: 9780814627556, 2755

Details: 128 pgs, 7 x 10
Publication Date: 04/01/2002

Reviews

. . . required reading for academic courses on sacred art and architecture as well as for training newly appointed pastors who are apt to guide some type of church building or renovation project on a small or large scale.
Pastoral Music

Building from Belief, which is composed of a series of essays written primarily in the previous decade, is respectful to those who differ in their views of religious architecture . . . is worth the time of those contemplating building or renovating their parish churches.
Religion and the Arts

Michael DeSanctis is one of those rare writers who possesses not only a knowledge of his own science (religious architecture and art), but the ability to frame the issues involved in church-building or renovation within the context of the best liturgical theology and spirituality. In an age of ‘buildings without soul,' he calls us to ‘build from belief,’ and to commit to a dialogic process which respects our Catholic notions of grace and sacramentality and demands patient listening and conversion. He manifests a deep love not only for the worship space, but for the assembly which gathers there.
Anthony Schueller, SSS, Provincial, Former editor, Emmanuel

The problems and possibilities of modern church architecture are sensibly addressed.
Christian Century

Demonstrate[s] the diversity among Catholics in responding to post Vatican II architecture.
Religious Studies Review