New Bishops’ document and digital catalogue for Church’s heritage buildings and objects launched

28 January 2019
St Mary of the Cross, MacKillop Chapel at the ACU Melbourne Campus. Image: ACU.


National Church Architecture Symposium launches new Bishops’ document and digital catalogue for Church’s heritage buildings and objects

The relationship of the Catholic Church’s liturgical life and its valuable buildings, art, sacred vessels, vestments, rare books, furniture and altars will be the subject of national symposium sponsored by the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Council (NLAAC) of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Church Insurance, and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Centre for Liturgy.

Leading scholars and experts in Catholic heritage from around the world will present a series of lectures and workshops at the symposium, ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also: Catholic Liturgical Heritage,’ to be held at the ACU’s Melbourne campus from 6 to 8 February.

A new digital catalogue of Church-owned items called Cultura will be launched together with the new document ‘Fit for Sacred Use’—a set of liturgical and heritage principles upon which the stewardship and renewal of places of worship should be based.

Preserving Australia’s Catholic art and architecture will be a major focus of the symposium, which will also include sessions on changing churches to meet modern needs, commissioning religious art, and managing past mistakes.

The construction and redesign of confessionals will be discussed by a panel of experts in the light of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Keynote speakers will include British architecture historian, author and heritage expert Sophie Andreae and leading American liturgical design consultant Richard S. Vosko. Among the other speakers is ACU Adjunct Professor and art historian Rosemary Crumlin.

Assistant Director of ACU’s Centre for Liturgy Dr Jason McFarland said the symposium would provide a focus for the objects and environments of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Assistant Director of ACU’s Centre for Liturgy Dr Jason McFarland. Image: ACU.

“As a society, we are becoming more conscious of the importance of our environment. Churches are places of enormous power and meaning. They are the site of important events in our lives, of personal refuge and of communal connection.  How we build and maintain these spaces affects our sense of connection and our parish life,” said Dr McFarland.

“The Catholic Church is the custodian of wonderful architectural treasures throughout Australia and we have a responsibility to maintain and use them to best advantage. We also continue to commission new religious art and to conduct renovations and the choices we make in art and architecture have a deep impact both within and beyond the Catholic world.”

Rev Dr Tom Elich, incoming chair of the NLAAC, said the symposium would be an opportunity to explore the new national guidelines Fit for Sacred Use: Stewardship and renewal of places of worship.

“This is a companion volume to the 2014 document on building new churches, he said.  It applies the liturgical, architectural and heritage principles to the care and renewal of existing church buildings.  Both books deserve an important place on the desk of priests, architects and design teams working on the conservation of church buildings.”

The ACU Centre for Liturgy offers formative education in liturgy and sacramental theology at every level from pastoral training programs for parish ministers through to doctorates for higher degree research students.

Registrations are still open.


Event: National Church Architecture Symposium 2019

Venue: ACU Melbourne Campus, 115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy

Date: Wednesday 6 February to Friday 8 February

Cost: $375

For more information and to register visit:

With thanks to ACU.


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