Liturgical Art On a Mission

Cathedral of Christ the Light (Oakland, CA)

Last week my good wife picked up copies of two magazines in our local Barnes & Noble: American Craft and Sculpture Review. The title of the former was, "Art On A Mission: Craftspeople Turn Their Talents Toward Social Change." The title of the latter was, "Post Vatican II Sculpture and Architecture." What caught my attention in the American Craft issue was an article on Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2010 the church faced a decision. As the article puts it:

"Should the parish remodel its existing outdated building or tear it down and build anew? In their research, the Rev. Michael Radford Sullivan and his colleagues determined it would cost more to remodel. So they kept the nave ... of the church, which is based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design, but demolished and rebuilt more than 35,000 square feet of space. And as it turned out, rebuilding presented a rare opportunity to incorporate the work of local craftspeople into the church."

With the issue of Sculpture Review, the reader is introduced to a wide range of liturgical art and architecture that has been generated on behalf of local parishes, cathedrals, and university chapels over the past fifty years. Reading through the different stories encouraged and inspired me. It reminded me that very good work--theologically substantial, pastorally and liturgically contextual, aesthetically excellent, and missionally minded--is being done on behalf of churches in North America.

Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University

Interior of Chapel of St. Ignatius

Chapel at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center

May we continue to see this happening more so and in more varied denominational and geographical contexts. (I confess, I feel pretty lucky to be married to a woman who has made work in this vein.)

"Standing Man with Outstretched Arm" by Stephen De Staebler

"Winged Figure Ascending" by Stephen De Staebler


Beautiful. May God multiply this work. Amen.

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