National Centre for Liturgy to host Art and Architecture Seminar

26 Jan 2017

  •  Art for Faith liturgical art exhibition to open as part of seminar

The National Centre for Liturgy in association with the Bishops’ Advisory Committee on Sacred Art and Architecture will hold a seminar for artists, architects, clergy and for members of parish/diocesan committees relating to the liturgy as well as places of worship.  The seminar will be held on Thursday 9 February in Renehan Hall, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare.

The guest speaker will be Rev Dr Richard S. Vosko, a sacred space planner in the USA since 1970.  Father Vosko has worked on more than 100 renovation projects including the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles; the Cathedral of Saint James, Seattle; the Central Synagogue in New York; and San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas.  Father Vosko has also worked on projects for the Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches in the USA.

A new exhibition entitled Art for Faith will be formally opened as part of the seminar and will be available for public viewing from Friday 10 February until Friday 24 February.  Art for Faith will feature 30 different pieces from 13 artists and will include two pieces of stained glass by Margaret Becker as well as a wood sculpture of Christ on the Cross made by Charles Perpoil.

Commenting ahead of the seminar Mgr Joseph McGuinness, Chairperson of Bishops’ Council for Liturgy said, “I welcome this seminar for artists and architects.  It is so important to encourage the gifts that artists and architects bring to us in the Church.  Pope Saint John Paul II in his letter to artists in 1999 said, ‘In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God.  It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is itself ineffable.  Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen.  It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and its aura of mystery’.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that the Church constantly seeks the noble assistance of artists and their works.  The Church is intent on preserving the artistic treasures of the past and she strives to promote new works in harmony with each contemporary age.  Here, as well, attention is given to the appointment of artists and what works of theirs are chosen to serve the liturgy.  What is required is that true excellence in art that nourishes faith and which accords authentically with the meaning and purpose of the liturgy.

“We are grateful to the individual artists and to the parishes of Prosperous, Co Kildare, and Knocknacarra, Co Galway, for lending us their beautiful pieces of liturgical art for this exhibition.  I encourage people to come and see it for themselves and to stop and pause for a while the next time they are in a church to appreciate the craftsmanship of so many talented people.”

Brian Quinn, Chairperson of the Bishops’ Advisory Committee on Sacred Art and Architecture said, “In liturgy we enter into a dialogue with the divine.  We use our senses and we use movement to carry out this dialogue.  Through speech and listening, our sense of hearing acts as one of a number of channels of communication.  Music enriches this dialogue so that we get a glimpse of the divine in a way that mere speech and listening cannot do.  Similarly, liturgical art allows a glimpse of the divine through our sense of sight in a way that mere observing of ritual cannot.  Unlike music, however, art is an under-used resource, a channel of communication that we do not use to its potential.  I warmly welcome this seminar for artists and architects as a welcome opportunity for us to continue to highlight liturgical art as a vital means of glimpsing the divine and enhancing the liturgy.

“I am delighted to see the Art for Faith exhibition taking shape.  What we have put together in this modest exhibition is just a flavour of the wealth of wonderful pieces of liturgical art we have in our parishes.  We are blessed to have so many creative people giving their time and their talents to enhancing our sacred spaces.”

Notes to editors

  • The seminar will begin with registration at 10.00am and conclude at 4.00pm.  The cost is €50 per person.  For more information please email Sister Moira Bergin at the National Centre for Liturgy on [email protected].
  • Father Richard S. Vosko is a liturgical design consultant and priest of theRoman Catholic Diocese of Albany who has overseen the redesign and renovation of numerous churches and cathedrals in the United States.  Father Vosko has worked throughout the US and Canada as a designer and consultant for worship environments since 1970.  He is the author of God’s House Is Our House: Re-imagining the Environment for Worship and Designing Worship Spaces: The Mystery of a Common Vision.
  • Opening times for the Art for Faith Liturgical Art Exhibition – North Cloister, College Chapel, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth:

Friday 10 February 12.00 – 14.00
Saturday 11 February 14.00 – 16.00
Sunday 12 February 14.00 – 16.00

Monday 13 February 12.00 – 14.00
Tuesday 14 February 12.00 – 14.00
Wednesday 15 February 12.00 – 14.00
Thursday 16 February 12.00 – 14.00
Friday 17 February 12.00 – 14.00
Saturday 18 February 14.00 – 16.00
Sunday 19 February 14.00 – 16.00

Monday 20 February 12.00 – 14.00
Tuesday 21 February 12.00 – 14.00
Wednesday 22 February 12.00 – 14.00
Thursday 23 February 12.00 – 14.00
Friday 24 February 12.00 – 14.00 (close of exhibition)

  • A preview of some of the pieces will be available on
  • Photographs from the exhibition are available on request from the Catholic Communications Office 087 310 4444.


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444