Home | Join/Donate

Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy

Church Architecture and Renovation


The place of worship is a matter of great concern to many Catholics -- and their concern becomes more intense as their own parish church is slated for renovation.

As the impressive list of articles in this collection shows, Adoremus Bulletin has been a pioneer in tracking the historic developments on the church architecture scene during the past several years, and in providing useful information to clergy and laity who have often found themselves in need of reliable information -- and encouragement. Articles are listed from the most recently published backwards. See also Documents page -- Church Documents.

Opera Artis - Decree on the Care of the Church's Historical and Artistic Heritage - Congregation for the Clergy - April 11, 1971 -- Vol. VIII, 2 April 2002


Articles from Adoremus Bulletin

Recycling the house of God -- Two Old Churches Unite to Become One New Parish -- by Richard J. Gambla, Vol. XX, No. 6, September 2014

A Medivalist Considers Inculturation in Sacred Art -- by Daniel Mitsul,Vol. XX, No. 5, August 2014

Clergy Seating through the Centuries: Part II - The Enclosed Choir in Medieval Cathedrals and Abbeys -- by Daniel DeGreve, Vol. XX, No. 5, August 2014

Clergy Seating Through the Centuries: The Origin of the Presider's Chair - Part I -- by Daniel DeGreve, Vol. XX, No. 4., June-July 2014

Restoring Sacred Architecture to a Higher Plane - William Heyer works to draw faith communities heavenward. -- by Trent Beattie, Vol. XX, No. 4., June-July 2014

What Does a Church Building Mean?-- by Denis McNamara, Vol. XX, No. 4., June-July 2014

The Crucifix - Mystery and Symbol - by Thomas Howard, Vol. XX, No. 3, May 2014

Sacred Art Points Catholic School Students to Deeper Reality by Alexandra Theis, Vol. XX, No. 2, April 2014

The Very Stones Shall Speak - Sculpture for the Chapel of Clear Creek Abbey -- by Helen Hull Hitchcock, November 2013, XIX, No. 8

Retro Tablum: The Origins of the Altarpiece by Daniel P. DeGreve, October 2013, XIX, No. 7

Saint Luke Portrait of the Madonna, October 2013, XIX, No. 7

Sacred Art: The Imprint of God through Time -- Style and Symbol Transcends Culture, History by Daniel Mitsui, September 2013, Vol. XIX, No. 6

A Noble Radiance - Chapel of Our Lady of Ephesus, Kansas City by Brian W. MacMichael, September 2013, Vol. XIX, No. 6

The Need for Beautiful Churches -- and some encouraging ideas and examples -- Art Lohsen, Vol. XIX, No. 4, June-July 2013

Can Abstraction in Art Articulate the Central Mystery of Faith? -- by Michael F. Tamara, Vol. XIX, No. 2, April 2013

The History of Sacred Art and Its Evolution ... and why it should be included in seminary education by Duncan G.Stroik, March 2013, Vol. XIX, No. 1

News and Views -- Stroik: The Church Building as a Sacred Place | Pope Benedict's Infancy Narratives | New Resource for World Youth Day 2013 | Liturgy Conference in Ireland on Vatican II, February 2013, Vol. XVIII, No. 10

New Church Builds on Tradition, Signals Future, St. John the Apostle Parish Blends Past with Present by Erik Bootsma, February 2013, Vol. XVIII, No. 10

The Sistine Chapel: A Story of Light and Salvation, Vol. XVIII, No. 9, December 2012-January 2013

Beauty in a Country Church Restored -- Pastor describes how this was accomplished with parishioners' talent - and AB readers' help -- by Father David Fulton -- November 2012

Why Create New Art or Music When There's Plenty of Good Old Stuff Around? -- by David Clayton, Vol XVIII, No. 6, September 2012

The Cathedral from the Romanesque to the Gothic: The Theological Background -- Pope Benedict XVI, Vol XVIII, No. 5, August 2012

The Myth of the Domus Ecclesiae -- and how this has inluenced modern Church architecture -- by Steven J. Schloeder, Vol XVIII, No. 5, August 2012

Where to Place the Tabernacle, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, June-July 2012

The Altar as the Center of the Church, Conclusion (Part II) -- by Duncan Stroik, Vol. XVIII, No. 2, April 2012

The Altar as the Center of the Church, Principles of Design by Duncan Stroik, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, March 2012

Learning the Language of Church Architecture by Helen Hull Hitchcock, Book review of How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture by Denis R. McNamara, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, March 2012

Realizing the Vision: A church that looks Catholic inside and out -- Fr. John Dobrowski, Vol. XVII, No. 8, November 2011

History, Harmony, Beauty Blend in Recovery of Sacred Heritage: The Renovation of Saint Joseph Cathedral -- by Erik Bootsma, Vol XVII, No 6, September 2011

Sacred Architecture: Encountering the Beauty and Mystery of God -- by Cardinal Justin Rigali, , Vol. XVII, No. 1, March 2011

Restoring Beauty to Our Churches: A Success Story - How Holy Ghost parish achieved a sacred space for worship -- Fr. Jay A. Finelli, Vol XVI, No. 10, February 2011

New Romanesque Church Planned for Virginia Parish -- New St. John's in Leesburg, Virginia Respects Central Mystery of the Faith -- by James P Lucier, Vol. XVI, No. 9, December 2010-January 2011

A Living Presence... Symposium on the Development of Catholic Church Architecture: For the first time, two major Catholic universities, The Catholic University of America and The University of Notre Dame, collaborated in presenting a symposium on Catholic church architecture. “A Living Presence: Extending and Transforming the Tradition of Catholic Sacred Architecture” was held at The Catholic University of America (CUA) School of Architecture and Planning on April 30 and May 1. -- by Michael Patrick, Vol XVI, No. 4., June 2010

Book Review - The Foundation of the Faith in America: American's First Cathedral -- reviewed by Philip Nielsen, Vol XVI, No. 4., June 2010

Bearers of the Heavenly Jerusalem: Vatican II & Development in Church Architecture - "When I give presentations in parishes or teach in the classroom, I am often asked many intelligent questions by students, building committee members, architects, pastors, and parishioners. These questions have given me great insight into the needs and desires of the People of God. The questions that follow are among those most frequently asked, and shorter summary answers are provided here for the reader’s convenience." -- by Denis McNamara, Vol. XVI, No. 2, April 2010

Can a Church Building Image the Church? -- Book Review. Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy, by Denis McNamara -- Reviewed by Helen Hull Hitchcock [ March 2010 ]

Meeting House or Church: The Hermeneutics of Discontinuity and Reform -- by Denis McNamara [September 2009]

Sacred Art as a Pedagogical Tool -- An Example from Rome: Caravaggio's "The Calling of Saint Matthew" -- by Matthew E. Peszek [May 2009]

Art at the Service of the Liturgy - Selections from Vatican Documents [May 2009]

Rebuilding for the Twenty-first Century -- After a devastating fire, a parish recovers continuity with its past, hope for future -- by William Buckingham [May 2009]

Beauty Restored to Historic Church -- Saint Francis Xavier in Vincennes -- the Oldest Parish in the Indiana Territory by B. Gunar Gruenke [May 2009]

Catechismus in Lapidem -- How can we make our churches true "Catechisms in Stone"? -- By Duncan Stroik [May 2009]

Consecration of Thomas Aquinas College Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity: A Triumph of Sacred Architecture -- A Church That Teaches -- by Denis McNamara [April 2009]

Beauty as Expanded Reason: The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- by Father Noah Waldman [September 2008]

At New Monastery, Ora et Labora Represented in Building -- by Thomas Gordon Smith [September 2008]

New Retablo at San Juan Capistrano Shows Continuity with the Past -- Artisans in Spain Create New Art for Historic Spanish Mission in California -- by Daniel Mitsui, November 2007

Uncovering - and Restoring - the Sacred: When two priests set out to find remnants of a mural in their parish church, no one could have imagined the transformation that would result -- by Ted Crisman [March 2007]

Readers' Forum: September 2006 -- "Jazz Riffs" and "Mantras" | "Proclamation"? | Crucifix | The Bible in the Breviary? | What "Precious Chalice" Means | What the Bishops Said | Can the only tabernacle be in a chapel outside the church building? Vol. XII, No. 6, September 2006

Church Buildings -- Monuments with Mixed Messages, by The Rev. John A. Valencheck, Vol. XI, No. 10, February 2006

Book Review: Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago, Vol. XI, No. 9, December 2005-January 2006

Where Have We Put Him?: And what if we acted as if we believe what we believe? -- by The Rev. W. Roy Floch -- Vol. XI, No. 8 -- November 2005

"How Great Thou Aren't"? A lament on new church buildings, by Helen Hull Hitchcock, Vol. XI, No. 1, March 2005

Sanctus Bells --Their History and Use in the Catholic Church -- "Most Catholic Christians are familiar with Sanctus bells. Though the bells are still heard in many parishes, many wonder about them. Some long to hear their joyful sounds; and some erroneously believe their use during the Mass is now prohibited. " -- by Matthew Herrera -- Vol. XI, No. 1, March 2005

In Tiers of Glory -- "A church building is a vessel of meaning with the greatest of symbolic responsibilities: it must bear the significance of eternal truths through its material form in order to establish a sacred place destined for divine worship", writes Michael Rose in the Introduction to his latest book... Review of Michael Rose's book In Tiers of Glory, The Organic Development of Catholic Church Architecture Through the Ages (2004. Cincinnati: Mesa Folio Editions, Aquinas Publishing, Ltd.) -- by Helen Hull Hitchcock Vol. X, No 8, November 2004

The Wisdom of Hindsight: The Restoration of Catholic Church Architecture -- "While many Church officials and patrons are still intent on erecting testaments to their own existence, some prominent architects in both North America and Europe are emerging with critiques of contemporary secularized churches." -- by Michael S. Rose -- Vol X, No 8, November 2004

Holy Architect -- Antoni Gaudi, the Spanish architect best known for designing the as yet unfinished Church of Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) in Barcelona, has recently had his "cause" for beatification accepted by the Vatican.  Vol. X, No 7, October 2004

Ave Maria University Reveals Plans for Giant Church -- As part of a plan for a new campus... Ave Maria University recently unveiled detailed designs for the centerpiece building of its community -- a church., by Michael S. Rose -- Vol. X, Nos. 2 & 3, April - May 2004

Church Architecture and "Full and Active Participation" Does the architectural style of our churches influence the way we worship?, by Thomas Gordon Smith, Vol. X, Nos. 2 & 3, April - May 2004

The Divine Mercy Chapel ­ Ireland -- The design of a new campus for St. Patrick's Academy, a small Catholic secondary school in Ireland, is the subject of my thesis at the Notre Dame School of Architecture. The design for the campus includes all-new school buildings and play fields -- but the heart of the campus is unquestionably its chapel. -- by John Haigh Vol. X, No. 2 & 3 -- April - May 2004

Design for Saint Agnes Chapel - New York - by Dino Marcantonio Vol. X, No. 2 & 3 -- April - May 2004

Design for Oakland Cathedral - by Domiane Forte, Vol. X, No. 2 & 3 -- April - May 2004

Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity chapel -- Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity chapel is prominently located at the head of the main quadrangle at Thomas Aquinas College. This central location reflects the important role of faith in the pursuit of wisdom. Administration and classroom buildings, connected to the chapel by arcades, will complete the quadrangle. -- by Duncan Stroik -- Vol. X, No. 2 & 3 -- April - May 2004

Cardinal Responds to Questions on Liturgy -- Wide-ranging questons on Liturgy were answered by Cardinal Francis Arinze at a conference in July sponsored by the Apostolate for Family Consecration., Vol. IX, No. 7, October 2003

Church Architecture and the Supreme Court, Attempting to use secular law to govern church renovations may be perilous -- "In the enad it is quite dangerous to allow the secular courts to decide such things as the style of altars, or the placement of tabernacles, even when court decisions might effectively support authentic Catholic belief and practice., by James Hitchcock , Vol. IX, No. 4, June 2003

Everything Old is New Again Monks build anew with ancient stones, Vol. IX, No. 4, June 2003

Let Freedom RING! -- What do ringing bells mean to us? -- By Rev. Mr. Roger Marks -- Vol VIII, No 10, February 2003

The Fading Orthodoxy of Modernism and the remaking of Catholic Church architecture - Review of Building from Belief by Michael E. De Sanctis -- By James Hitchcock Vol VIII, No 10 -- February 2003

Immersed in controversy - fonts or pools? -- Why church renovations replace existing baptismal fonts with immersion pools. -- By Susan Benofy -- Vol VIII, No 10, February 2003

Face-to-face with the Grand Summa -- by Michael S. Rose Vol. VIII, No. 4, June 2002

Art, Image and Artists - Sacred art, inspired by faith, both reflects and informs the culture -- Part II, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger -- Vol. VIII, No. 1, March 2002

Milwaukee: Cathedral of Saint John reopens after controversial renovation -- by Helen Hull Hitchcock -- Vol. VIII, No. 1 -- March 2002

Re-pitching the Wrecking Ball - Feverish haste to remodel churches reflects radical renovation of theology -- by Matthew Grantham -- Vol. VIII, 1, March 2002

Art and Liturgy - The Question of Images, From a chapter of Cardinal Ratzinger's Spirit of the Liturgy, Part I --  Vol. VII, No. 10, February 2002

A City Set on a Hill, "the building itself is a city set on a hill", by Michael S. Rose, author of Ugly as Sin, Vol. VII, No. 10, February 2002

Bring Back the Bells - and the Bell Tower, too, by Michael S. Rose, Vol. VII, No. 7, October 2001

Are Icons Catholic? -- Monsignor Anthony A. La Femina answers Orthodox challenge. Vol. VII, No. 7, September 2001

The Eucharist Sacrifice-Banquet of the New Covenant, by The Rev. Msgr. Anthony A. La Femina, Vol. 7, 3, May 2001

Bishops back "Built of Living Stones" --Report on bishops' conference, including a transcription of the bishops' discussion of new guidelines on church architecture. -- by Helen Hull Hitchcock and Susan Benofy, Vol. VI, No. 9 December 2000 - January 2001

Whose Place of Worship? (Book Review) -- by David Aaron Murray -- Vol. 6, 6-7, Sept. / Oct. 2000

Jubilee Rome, Part V: San Clemente, St. Peter in Chains, Catacombs - and other noteworthy churches -- Last in a "virtual pilgrimage" to churches in Rome.-- by Sheila Gribben Liaugminas -- Vol. 6, 6-7, Sept. / Oct. 2000

Displeasure at Domus Dei draft delays new document -- by David A. Murray -- Vol. 6, 5, August 2000

Sacred Space: Rediscovering the Tradition -- book review by Denis McNamara of Reconquering Sacred Space: New Catholic Architecture for the New Millennium. -- Vol. 6, 5, August 2000

Jubilee Rome, Part IV: St. Mary Major, St. Lawrence Outside-the-Walls, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme and St. Sebastian -- by Sheila Gribben Liaugminas -- Vol. 6, 5, August 2000

Jubilee Rome, Part III: Vatican Grottoes, St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, St. John Lateran -- by Sheila Gribben Liaugminas -- Vol. 6, 4, June / July 2000

Jubilee Rome, Part II: St. Peter's -- by Sheila Gribben Liaugminas -- Vol. 6, 3, May 2000

Jubilee Rome, Part I: Heart of the Church, Soul of a Pilgrimage -- by Sheila Gribben Liaugminas -- Vol. 6, 2, April 2000

The Altar and the Direction of Liturgical Prayer -- Chapter 3 of his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- Vol. VI, No. 3, May 2000

Arizona Gothic: St. Joan of Arc's "modern Gothic" church combines contemporary construction with classic details, Staff -- Vol. VI, No. 2, April 2000

Unexpected Splendor in Alabama -- The Consecration of Mother Angelica's Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament -- by James Hitchcock -- Vol. 5, 10, February 2000

Bishops' Discussion of Domus Dei Stresses Sacred, by the Staff, Vol. 5, 9, December 1999 - January 2000

Notre Dame: Renovation Redux -- by Michael Rose -- Vol. 5, 7, October 1999

Ever Ancient, Ever New, New Missouri Church Builds on Traditio
by David Aaron Murray -- Vol. 5, 7, October 1999

 "They have taken away my Lord, and I Know Not Where They Have Laid Him" -- Excerpts from the key documents on tabernacle placement, with an introduction -- by Helen Hull Hitchcock -- Vol. 5, 5, July-August 1999

What's the Real Story on EACW?, by Helen Hull Hitchcock and Susan Benofy --  Vol. 5, 4, June 1999

So, You're On the Parish Building Committee? Architectural Resources -- by Denis McNamara -- Vol. 4, 9, February 1999

New Church Architecture Journal Launched at Notre Dame -- by David Aaron Murray -- Vol. IV, No. 9, February 1999

Memories of Iconoclasm at Ely Cathedral -- by Lynette Burrows (February 1999: reprinted from The Catholic Times, August 1998)

American Gothic, -- Mixed Idioms Abound in New Nebraska Church -- by David Aaron Murray -- Vol. IV, No. 5, September 1998

Brompton Oratory has Lessons for Parishes,-- The Brompton Oratory, where the Novus Ordo is done as it should be done, attracts vast crowds. -- by Joanna Bogle, Vol. IV, No. 5, September 1998

Renovated, Restored, RENEWED! -- St. Aloysius in New Canaan, CT restores sense of sacred to post-Vatican II "meeting house" -- by Anne Carey (Vol. 4, 4 -- July / August 1998; reprinted from Our Sunday Visitor)

Can We Keep Our Churches Catholic? -- A Critical Look at Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, With Hope for the Future -- by Denis McNamara, Vol. IV, No. 1, February/March 1998

Where Should We Put the Tabernacle? -- by Monsignor Peter Elliott -- Vol. 3, 9 -- December 1997 / January 1998

An Architecture to Honor the Church's Vision, by Thomas Gordon Smith -- Vol. III, No. 8, November 1997

The Roots of Modernist Church Architecture -- by Duncan Stroik -- Vol. 3,7 -- October 1997

On the Art of Building Churches -- by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn -- Vol. 3,7, October 1997

Saint Nowhere's -- by James Hitchcock -- Vol. 3, 6 -- September 1997

Places for Iconoclasm: "Re-imaging" Required After Removal of Christian Symbols
by Irene Groot --
Vol. 3, 3, May 1997

The Veil, The Chalice, and the Dignity of Man: We Were Made to Receive Christ
by Father Jerry Pokorsky -- Vol. 2, 9, February 1997

New Liturgy Committee Head -- Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB Elected to replace Bishop Donald Trautman as BCL chairman -- Vol. II, No. 8, December 1996

Cry Sanctuary! Will Renovated Churches Have Room for Jesus?, by Helen Hull Hitchcock, Vol. II, No. 3, May / June 1996

Matter matters, Our Most Dangerous Heresies May be the Most Purely Spiritual, by Irene Colligan Groot, Vol. II, No. 3, May/June 1996


1. Call our office to donate directly: (608) 521-0385, have your name, address and credit card number ready. If you would like automatic donations to Adoremus let us know what date(s) you would like to be billed on.

**Adoremus operates solely on your generous donations.**

Adoremus is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

Site Copyright © 1999 - Present by Adoremus
All rights reserved.

All material on this web site is copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without prior written permission from Adoremus, except as specified below:

Personal use
Permission is granted to download and/or print out articles for personal use only.

Brief quotations (ca 500 words) may be made from the material on this site, in accordance with the “fair use” provisions of copyright law without prior permission.  For these quotations proper attribution must be made of author and Adoremus + URL (i.e., Adoremus or Adoremus Bulletin – www.adoremus.org.)

Generally, all signed articles or graphics must also have the permission of the author. If a text does not have an author byline, Adoremus should be listed as the author.  For example: Adoremus (St Louis: Adoremus, 2005 + URL)

Link to Adoremus web site.
Other web sites are welcome to establish links to www.adoremus.org or to individual pages within our site.

Home | Join/Donate | Adoremus Bulletin | Archive | Index | Church Documents | Architecture | Posture | Music | Translation | What's NEW? | FAQ | Search Site | Site Map