The Basilica of Saint Mary
March 23, 2017
·
The Basilica Landmark
Help preserve and restore America’s First Basilica!
Global Stewardship
Promote peace throughout the world in December and January.
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
Wednesday of the 3rd week of Lent

1960s

The Basilica Is Designated a Co-Cathedral

How can any of us who are old enough to remember the sixties forget them? The assassinations of President Kennedy in 1963, followed by those of Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the escalating war in Vietnam, the continuing struggle for racial equality, Lyndon Johnson's promises of a great society, Apollo 8's voyage to the moon, and Vatican II all marked the decade. The slogans of the day tell the story: Hippy Power, Black Power, Flower Power, We Shall Overcome, Make Love, Not War, and the list goes on. In 1960, President Kennedy said, "We stand today on the edge of a new frontier," the frontier of the 1960s, a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.

In 1963 Monsignor James Reardon died at the age of ninety-one. He had contributed enormously to the success of all aspects of the Basilica's work. Under his leadership the interior was completed in the 1920s, an interior revered for its beautiful art and craftsmanship. His love of history and excellent documentation of that history are evident as we use his work to learn about the early church community in Minnesota.

Leonard Cowley, later Bishop Cowley, followed Monsignor Reardon. In Voices from a Landmark, Father Michael O'Connell says, "Bishop Cowley brought a new style of pastoring... He linked up with the neighboring pastors; he was well-known and well-liked." That collegial bond continues today as pastors from all denominations in Minneapolis meet regularly to exchange ideas and solve shared problems. In 1966 the Basilica was dedicated as Co-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, officially completing the vision of Archbishop Ireland.

Music continued to be important in the services of the church. Bruce Larsen, Director of Music and Liturgy from 1964 to 1968, as acclaimed by Dr. Kim Kasling in Voices from a Landmark, "was an extraordinarily gifted musician." Dr. Kasling lauds the three pipe organs, three choirs, and the extraordinary church music that was performed during Larsen's tenure.

But the 1960s are not complete without a discussion of the decision to surround the Basilica with freeways. In Voices from a Landmark, Father O'Connell characterizes the good and the bad that came with the freeways. While the new highways improved access to the Basilica, they fractured the Basilica neighborhood and parish; the loss of family housing and noise, vibration, and pollution from traffic have all taken a toll on the Basilica's community and building.

© The piers of Interstate 94 rise next to the Basilica. »
I-94 was part of President Dwigh Eisenhower’s push for an Interstate Highway System authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Building I-94 next to The Basilica took place in the 1960s. – Photo by Michael Jensen. [Close]
© 2007 The Basilica of Saint Mary:  Contact Us  ·  Downloads  ·  Press Room  ·  Site Map  ·  Privacy  ·  Credits