Works of art truly belong in the church when they are worthy of the place of worship and when they enhance the liturgical, devotional, and contemplative prayer they are inspired to serve.
Art chosen for the place of worship is not simply something pretty or well made. Nor is the place of worship a museum to house artistic masterpieces or artistic models. Rather, artworks truly belong in the church when they are worthy of the place of worship and when they enhance the liturgical, devotional, and contemplative prayer they are inspired to serve. (Built of Living Stones, 143)
Liturgical Artwork: Parish Process Outline
- Contact the Office for Worship and/or the Diocesan Facilities Services Corporation.
- Write a letter addressed to the Bishop, seeking permission to begin the commissioning process.
- Form a commissioning team.
- Have the commissioning team read Built of Living Stones, “Chapter Three: The Work of Our Hands: Art and Artists Assisting the Church at Prayer.”
- Prepare a project brief.
- Ensure that new artwork is consistent with church architecture and existing artwork.
- Ensure that new artwork complements, not overwhelms or detracts from, the liturgical action.
- Be aware that there is a distinction between religious art and fine art; personal taste and religious/liturgical art values.
- Ensure that the parish is committed to equitable treatment of artists.
- When purchasing an existing piece of art, be cautious of catalog art.
- When considering the acceptance of donations of religious art, be clear that the art must meet the criteria for religious/liturgical art as found in Built of Living Stones. Make it clear that once art donations are accepted, they become the property of the parish to be used as the parish determines.
- If a donation of artwork appears to be of historic value, contact the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Office for Worship or Archives. They will be able to offer guidance regarding the restoration, display, protection, and registration of historic art pieces for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.
Call the Office of Worship with questions or for assistance in commissioning or choosing religious/liturgical art for the worship space.