The Catholic Church in the Philippines looks forward to 2021 because it marks the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines. Various activities such as conferences are being held by different sectors and organizations as part of the pre-quincentennial celebrations.
The UST College of Architecture (USTCA) and the UST College of Architecture Alumni Association (USTCAAA), organized the 2nd Liturgical Architecture Conference in line with the celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. It was attended by architects, engineers, liturgical designers, students, priests, seminarians, and entrepreneurs.
The online conference served as a venue for exchanging professional practice, concepts, and suggestions about the planning principles on designing Sacred Spaces, the Guild of Liturgical Designers (GOLD) and United Architects of the Philippines-Committee on Liturgical Architecture and Sacred Spaces (UAP-CLASS).
The speakers consisted of Filipino and international experts on Liturgical Architecture, and Sacred Space Design. On the first day, His Excellency Most. Rev. Victor B. Bendico, DD, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), shared in his keynote speech titled ‘Adaptations in Liturgical Celebrations in View of Safety,’ the impact and changes brought about by the pandemic on administering sacraments and on designing sacred spaces.
The other speakers were: Engr. Robert Cruz who shared “Principles and Best Practices in Sacred Space Design: The Experience of Vitre Artus”; Ar. Belén Vegas Jáudenes who elaborated on the “Transcendence and Significance of Liturgical Design: The Genesis of Talleres de Arte Granda and the Spirituality of its Founder”; and Dr. Tricia Mein Bruce who talked about “Outside of ’Church’: Transitions in U.S. Houses of Worship Amid Social Change.”
The second day was allotted for five presentations. Ar. Roy De Guzman covered the “Historical Evolution of the Philippine Liturgical Architecture and how are the Churches designed in the Philippines?” while Ar. Jae S. Narciso and Ar. Cielo C. Perez discussed “The New Normal of Sacred Space Design (in view of safety in the time of pandemics and ways forward).” Rev. Fr. Arnel F. Recinto and Mr. Fernando Sajona elaborated on “The Role of the Parish Pastoral Councils in Initiating and Sustaining Initiatives in relation to building Churches”; Ar. Gervasio ‘Joey’ Y. Amistoso spoke about the “Dynamics of Church Design and Building process: The Role of the Liturgical Designers and Community Participation”; and Ar. EnP. Pedro ‘Sonny’ P. Rodriguez discussed “CSR on Sacred Space Projects: Couples for Christ Global “Build my Church” Program.” The conference, a successful partnership between the academe and the professionals, aimed to enlighten and educate its participants about the basic principles and guidelines of Liturgical Architecture and Sacred Space Design, and ultimately, to help elevate the level of appreciation of these spaces for their dignity and solemnity