Archdiocese of Santa Fe Archbishop Sheehan About Us Agencies & Offices Catholic News
Calendars & Special Events Education Parishes & Missions Other Links Search
† Worship &
  Christian Initiation

Worship &
Christian Initiation

Liturgical Institute
of the Southwest
Sacramental Policies
For Liturgical Music
For Liturgical
Environment & Art
For Liturgy
On Christian Funerals
On Christian Initiation
For Wedding Music

For Religious Art for
the Worship Space

Liturgy Updates

Guidelines for Commissioning, Purchasing or Accepting Donations
of Religious Art for the Worship Space

Printer Friendly Version-PDF file

(Insert in Tab R of Handbook for Parish Pastoral Leadership)

  1. Read Built of Living Stones (BLS) (Guidelines of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops), Chapter Three, on religious and liturgical art.

  2. Ensure that new artwork is consistent with church architecture.

  3. Ensure that new artwork complements, not overwhelms or detracts from the liturgical action.

  4. Be aware that there is a distinction between religious art and fine art; personal taste and religious/liturgical art values (see BLS).

  5. Ensure that the parish is committed to equitable treatment of artists.
    1. Do not expect artists to do work for free in the design stage.
    2. Be prepared to pay for work/design as well as finished art piece.

  6. When purchasing an existing piece of art, be cautious of catalog art "The integrity and energy of a piece of art, produced individually by the labor of an artist, is always to be preferred above objects that are mass-produced. (BLS, 147).

  7. 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.
    1. Publish a parish policy regarding art donations.
    2. Be wary of donations with "strings attached."
    3. Make it clear that once art donations are accepted, they become the property of the parish to be used as the parish determines.

  8. If a donation of artwork appears to be of historic value, contact the Commission for Historic/Artistic Patrimony (505) 983-3811. They will be able to offer guidance regarding the restoration, display, protection, and registration of historic art pieces for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

  9. Call the Office of Worship with questions, help in choosing religious/liturgical art for the worship space, sample artist contracts, a list of recommended artists, architects and liturgical design consultants. (831-8194)

Parish Process for Commissioning Religious/Liturgical Art

  1. Form a parish liturgical art review committee that includes the pastor, the donor (if there is one), and artistically and liturgically knowledgeable parishioners. Ask them to read Built of Living Stones, especially Chapter Three.

  2. Develop a list of candidates.
    1. Consider local and regional artists.
    2. Contact the Office of Worship for recommendations (831-8194).
    3. Look at artwork in liturgical publications (Environment & Art Newsletter, Ministry and Liturgy, Faith and Form, available for viewing at the Archdiocesan Office of Worship (831-8194).
    4. Ask for recommendations from your church architect.
    5. Visit local parishes who have recently commissioned liturgical art.

  3. Send out letters to potential candidates requesting resumes, brochures, portfolios, references, etc.

  4. Review resumés, portfolios, references, etc. Visit churches where their artwork is in use

  5. Narrow down choices and set-up interviews/presentations.

  6. Interview and ask for presentation from selected candidates. Consider qualifications, spirituality/theology, artwork, references, "fit" with your parish.

  7. Select artist and sign contract/letter of agreement.
    1. Make sure contract indicates what will be paid, when, and what will be done if the committee rejects artwork in the design process.
    2. Secure the right to graphic reproduction of the artwork for parish use.

  8. Artist begins design process.
    1. Artist visits parish and meets with liturgical art review committee; participates in a Sunday liturgy.
    2. Artist seeks to clearly understand parish culture, needs, budget, timeline.

  9. Review and approve, modify, reject, artist’s model/sketch/rendering/maquette of commissioned artwork.

  10. Repeat previous step as many times as needed.

  11. Bless and install artwork in worship space (see Book of Blessings)


Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan   |  About Us  |  Agencies & Offices  |  Catholic News
Calendars & Special Events  |  Education  |  Parishes & Missions  |  Other Links  |  Search  |  Home

Copyright © 2004 Archdiocese of Santa Fe
Contact the Archdiocese: