The Basilica of Saint Mary
July 22, 2017
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The Basilica of Saint Mary
We are located on Hennepin Avenue between 16th & 17th Streets in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Phone: 612.333.1381
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  January 16, 2014
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  December 27, 2013
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Eucharistic Congress Held in Minneapolis

For Americans, the 1940s was a decade of wartime hardship followed by optimism and high spirits. In 1939 France declared war on Germany, and the United States entered World War II when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The war ended with Japan's surrender when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. But the forties was also the decade when the World Series was first broadcast on television in 1947. Rodgers and Hammerstein started working together producing musicals like Oklahoma!, Carousel, and South Pacific that are still popular. And we all came to know and love Frank Sinatra's voice.

In Minneapolis, the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women organized under the direction of the Red Cross, and "war work" began again. It would last for more than half the decade. Beginning on June 14, 1940 and ending in October 1946, the women of the Basilica parish knitted and sewed garments, made surgical dressings, helped with hospital work, and served as staff assistants. The Red Cross honored many for their excellent work and attendance. Monsignor Reardon's history of the Basilica is explicit and impressive, recording hours worked, items produced, and numbers of women working. He also provided the numbers of parish men and women who served in the armed forces, 653, and lists those who died in service.

After the war, two ciboria covers were made of white silk from a parachute that fell in Belgium; they were embroidered by Sisters of the Visitation Convent in St. Paul and given to Monsignor Reardon on February 27, 1947.

On May 1, 1940, daily exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was inaugurated at the Basilica, the first parish in the diocese to be given that permission.

In June 1941, the Ninth National Eucharistic Congress was held in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Thousands of people came from all over the country to attend this most important event in the history of the Basilica. The number of priests needing to say daily Mass was so great that many temporary chapels were set up in the undercroft and two new side altars were dedicated in the nave.

During the week of the Eucharistic Congress in June of 1941, Father Reardon was raised to the rank of Monsignor.

On June 27, 1941, the Basilica was consecrated. The Souvenir of Consecration booklet includes an unattributed quote that describes the Basilica as "a marble poem; an aesthetic dream of sculptured beauty fit to be the theme of Angel fancies; a Madonna prayer uttered in stone."

© Mass celebrating the consecration of the Basilica’s alters »
June 27 1941 – Basilica archives. [Close]
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