Friday, March 9, 2007

Architecture, Culture and the Sacred (Alicia's Intro)

When I was a child, I didn't have much exposure to great architecture, but I remember being thrilled by reading about the Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde in my otherwise-hated Social Studies book: the only thing, in fact, that I now remember from six years of Social Studies textbooks.

Hearing even the name of the old Church where my grandparents were married in San Francisco in the 1920s - St. Paul of the Shipwreck - gave me a certain thrill; a connectedness to the past, a sense of mystery and the Sacred. Now I know enough to make further connections. That Church was Maltese and St. Paul was shipwrecked in Malta during his missionary journeys. What a fascinating thing to commemorate!

Architecture, like history, is filled with great stories - and children love stories! I believe children have a great capacity for mystery and a sense of the sacred. Instead of dull Social Studies textbooks that they will remember with loathing, why not give them a sense of beauty and the mystery of culture and the great things of the past?

I want our children to see in Sacred Architecture a manifestation of God's love. Though it is often argued that money spent on Church Architecture would be better spent on the poor, it is often the poor who are most in need of beautiful churches as a place of peace and refuge.

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