A nearly life-sized statue of St. John Vianney arrived today, a little late for the beginning of the year of the priest, but in time before its end. It was a challenge to find one of his statues with an expression that wasn't either frightening or syrupy sweet and we waited for quite a while for a nun in Ars to figure out how to ship a statue we liked. St. John apparently wasn't ever going to leave Ars, so we settled on a statue in Latin America (I think Peru), which is now in our sanctuary. I'm not sure he'll find a permanent place in our church; let me know if you like the statue.
The newly published book written by Denis R. McNamara entitled Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy arrived Friday and I've read a good sampling of it. It's richly illustrated (which probably accounts for its $50 cost) and clearly written. It includes technical words and their defininitions on the bottom of each page to save the reader from referring to an appendix or dictionary. This is an important book, especially as the Catholic Church slowly recovers from the influence of modernist and post-modernist architectural church designs. The "Spirit of the Liturgy" in the title is not only the obvious reference to the church's liturgical expression itself, but also two documents of the same name, one written by Romano Guardini and another by Pope Benedict XVI. Our architect, James McCrery has written a testimonial in the front matter of the book and is referenced within the text as well. It's available directly from Liturgical Training Publications or via Amazon (where it might be temporarily out of stock.)
We'll feature excerpts from the book on the Construction Blog. A major emphasis of the book is something that we have been discussing for several years, namely, the building in which a community worships is an integral expression of its prayer and praise to God.