The building, renovating, or restoration of a place of worship is a unique opportunity for the renewal of a parish’s faith and liturgical life. This important work is more than an architectural solution to a spatial need or an exercise in building maintenance. In fact, it will have a direct impact on the celebration of the liturgy as the central action in the life of a Catholic community. Parishes and other institutions (e.g., schools, healthcare facilities, and retreat centers) planning the construction, renovation, or restoration of a church or chapel should consult the archdiocesan Financial Policies and Procedures Manual for guidance regarding the proposal and approval processes for these projects. This information is summarized below:
In the Archdiocese of New York, the following principles apply to the construction, renovation, and restoration of places of worship:
1. The Archbishop must approve the concept.
2. Both ARAMARK and the archdiocesan Office of Liturgy must be contacted for all projects that involve any change, modification, or addition to a church or chapel, regardless of the cost involved.
1. At the inception of the project, regardless of size or cost, the pastor/administrator should notify ARAMARK of his intent to modify a worship space. ARAMARK will assist the pastor/administrator in submitting a Request for Authorization (RFA) for conceptual approval to the Archbishop. The pastor/administrator should attach a letter to the RFA describing the proposed change(s) and the purpose of the change(s).
2. After receiving the Archbishop’s approval, the pastor/administrator should meet with ARAMARK and the Office of Liturgy to review the construction and liturgical aspects of the project. Both organizations will assist the parish in the selection of an architect or liturgical designer.
3. Schematic designs should then be completed and presented to the Office of Liturgy for review and approval. The Office of Liturgy is assisted by the archdiocesan Liturgical Art and Architecture Commission in this process. The designs, along with a recommendation from the Office of Liturgy, are then submitted to the Archbishop for further approval. This submitted portfolio should include a proposed floor plan of the existing and planned space, a drawing of all relevant liturgical appointments, an elevated drawing of the sanctuary and reredos, and a description of the liturgical change(s) to the worship space and the purpose of the change(s).
4. Further design work may not take place until approval of the schematic designs has been received from the Archbishop’s office. Any subsequent modifications to the schematic designs should be resubmitted to the Office of Liturgy and ARAMARK and approved by the Archbishop’s office using the same procedure.
5. After approval from the Archbishop’s office, the project follows the standard procedures for capital projects.
Additional information regarding these policies and procedures may be found in the archdiocesan Financial Policies and Procedures Manual. Questions may be directed to the Office of Liturgy.