Notre-Dame Basilica’s AURA - When Tech Highlights Artistic Beauty in the Church

Technology can be used to produce artistic beauty that encourages and enhances theological musing.

The faith community in Montreal has gone the way of many cities in Europe. It has been in steady decline. But, like much of its European counterparts, Montreal too has a grand cathedral in the Gothic Revival styled Notre-Dame Basilica.

Founded in 1672, the parish grew until it later entered into expansion construction from 1824-1829. The church commissioned an Irish-American Anglican, John ODonnell to design the new building. ODonnell would later convert to Catholicism and is now the only person buried in the structure.

Upon completion the church was the largest in North America for over 50 years. In 1982 Pope John Paul II raised the status of the church to a Basilica. Then in 1989 the structure was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.

In recent years Notre-Dame has been most publicized for its occasional special religious services. Famed Montreal Canadiens hockey player Maurice Rocket Richards funeral was held there. In 2000, Justin Trudeau the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada - gave the eulogy for his father Pierre Trudeau, the 15th Prime Minister. And then notably in 1994 the venue hosted Celine Dions titanic wedding.

But AURA was meant to be something completely new. As part of Montreals 375th anniversary, the Basilica decided to hire the renowned Moment Factory team to create a unique immersive experience. The AURA website declares:

Light unveils the richness of the Notre-Dame Basilica's heritage and invites us to celebrate its beauty.

The experience begins with a path of lights, revealing the Basilica's wealth of exquisite works. A progressive immersion into a sonically and visually captivating universe guides visitors to the heart of Notre-Dame.

Then, light, orchestral music, and grandiose architecture combine to create a unique, multimedia spectacle.

Allow yourself to be transported by AURA and discover an unexpected, stunning universe presented upon one of the most sublime canvases imaginable: the Notre-Dame Basilica.

The first 20 minutes of the event invites participants to explore the Basilica while discovering numerous multimedia presentations that highlight and magnify the artistic beauty of the Cathedral. The second 20 minutes draws the attendees attention to the center of the Basilica where they are drawn into the immersive part of the exhibit. Paired with organ, vocal choirs, and orchestral soundtracks, the viewer is left awestruck by the visual imagery that draws one into the creativity of CoCreation with God.

Learn more about AURA by following the following link:

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. How do you think well-utilized technology impacts artistic expression?

Q2. How do you think art informs theology?

Q3. How do you think that the infusion of emerging tech in revered religious spaces might better foster peoples understanding of God?


Jeannelle Benek
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Nikki Diefenbach
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Nikki Diefenbach
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Christopher Benek
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