The Basilica of Saint Mary
July 22, 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
Friday of week 15 in Ordinary Time, or...


National Register Designation

The end of the Vietnam War, Watergate, the energy crisis, double-digit inflation, and the Iran hostage crisis: these are just a few of the incredible events of the 1970s, punctuated by our country's celebration of its bicentennial. Jimmy Carter was president and Alex Haley's Roots won a Pulitzer Prize. The feminist movement was in full swing, and people were fleeing the cities for the suburbs to escape crime, crowding, and other urban problems.

During the 1970s the Basilica was in its own state of transition. In Voices from a Landmark, architectural historian Carol Frenning describes the Basilica at that time as "vast and empty. I think cavernous would be a word I'd use." The Basilica parish dwindled after the freeway replaced area housing and the Basilica School closed for lack of enrollment. Due to illness, Bishop Cowley resigned his position in April 1973. Monsignor Terrance Berntson followed him as rector in 1973; he was succeeded by Alfred Wagner in 1978.

In 1975, the Basilica was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The register nomination form summarizes the significance of the Basilica. "Firstly it exemplifies great design in architecture and engineering. Designed by Masqueray, it ranks with the Cathedral of Saint Paul as an expression of Baroque influence in church architecture of the early twentieth century. Secondly, the Basilica is a testimonial to the religious movements and their roles in the development of Minnesota's heritage. And, thirdly, the building was the first such church to be proclaimed a basilica in the United States."

In 1974, Monsignor Berntson founded a volunteer organization that came to be known as the Care Guild. Featured in the Spring 1997 issue of Basilica Magazine, the Care Guild developed a variety of programs that were all indispensable to the growth and well-being of the Basilica parish. Scripture study, food shelf, nursery service, assistance to the home-bound, rummage, book, and bake sales were just a few Guild programs and activities. Though the Guild no longer exists, its legacy carries on in today's childcare programs, food shelf, and St. Vincent de Paul chapter, among others, at the Basilica; all are direct descendants of programs first established by the Care Guild.

© Basilica is placed on the National Register of Historic Places »
© Basilica is placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 recognizing its great design in acrchitecture and engineering and as the first basilica in the united states – Photo by Michael Jensen. [Close]
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