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Time And Space: Art And Environment

As the year passes, we realize that there is a liturgical rhythm that inspires us to announce the Good News of the Risen Christ in the celebratory life of the Church in many varied ways. These are the cycles of the liturgical year that, made evident by the church throughout history, accompany and enrich our journey of faith and our spiritual life: The announcement of the Kingdom and the advent of the Messiah in Advent; The incarnation of Jesus in our history at Christmas and his revelation to all nations in the Epiphany; The time of penance, fasting, and alms of Lent that leads us to the most important week of the liturgical year, Holy Week, and, above all, the Paschal triduum; The fiftieth anniversary by which the church deepens its commitment to the risen Lord and enriches the Easter symbols; The Ordinary Time that appears within the liturgical year to remind us that the one who journeys from Galilee to Jerusalem to surrender on the cross, accompanies us in our walk to show us the way of the cross and the glorious Resurrection.

It is noteworthy that every liturgical season requires a special environment with a special decoration. However, certain areas of the temple cannot be overshadowed by many flowers or with many plants, or colored tapestries. The liturgical art and environment, in general, should reflect simplicity and beauty.

There are four main areas of the sanctuary: the altar, symbol of Christ that should not be covered with flowers or with many candles; The Ambo, from where the Word of God is proclaimed; The presidential chair of the celebrant, with one or two chairs, that of the deacons; And, outside the sanctuary, the seating of the Assembly, from where the faithful exercise a singular ministry.

In many churches, the tabernacle, in the direct sight of the faithful, may be reserved in a lateral space that is used as a chapel for the daily liturgical celebrations. Both altar servers and con-celebrants should be placed in lateral rows and not near the celebrant.

Several articles about the art and environment of the liturgy have been written in the church, as well as two documents approved by the bishops of the United States. In fact, many of these indications appear in the General instruction of the Roman Missal in each Missal and in the document Redemptionis Sacramentum of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.