The Basilica of Saint Mary
May 23, 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
A map, email contact, parking information and mailing address is also available.
Weekly Musings Blog
Our pastor and staff directors share their thoughts, insights and inspirations.
Recent Publications
· Weekly Newsletter
  January 16, 2014
· Parish Bulletin
  December 27, 2013
· BASILICA Magazine
  December 6, 2013
Today's Reading
Monday of the 6th week of Eastertide, or...

1950s

Bronze Doors and a New Organ

The 1950s saw the United States entering the cold war era: the Soviet Union had exploded its first atomic bomb just before the beginning of the decade; communism was out to conquer the world. The McCarthy hearings of the early 1950s and the building of bomb shelters ensued. In Alabama, Martin Luther King, Jr., helped organize a bus boycott to protest racial repression and discrimination. Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road and James Dean became a movie idol after his starring role in Rebel Without a Cause; these were the early figures of the beat generation. Elvis Presley sang rock 'n' roll, but the real hero of the decade was Dwight D. Eisenhower, the war general who went on to serve his country as president.

At the Basilica of Saint Mary, the final structural units to the building were completed and installed in November 1954, eight double bronze doors. Each door depicts a unique aspect of the Basilica's story. Monsignor Reardon's history of the Basilica, first published in 1932 and updated in 1955, notes that "the symbolism displayed on the bronze doors is significant and instructive and merits more than a casual glance from the passerby;" it goes on to explain the symbolism of each door.

Another special event during this decade was the installation of a new organ. John Jacob Beck, church organist for twenty-seven years, died before the new organ was installed and dedicated in 1950. In Voices from a Landmark, Peg Guilfoyle notes the importance of music throughout the Basilica's history. The choirs and the musical directors, from the Basilica's beginnings to the present day, are considered a most important element of the church service. Dr. Kim Kasling, the Basilica's organist from 1981 to the present, recounts in Voices from a Landmark that the Basilica Wicks organ was designed by one of the premier organ builders of the day and describes its sound as "extraordinary."

© Ceiling work »
Scaffolding filled the nave for repair of the ceiling in 1952. – Photo from the Capecchi collection. [Close]
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