The Basilica of Saint Mary
May 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
Monday of the 6th week of Eastertide, or...

1980s

Restoration Begins

In the 1980s many of us bought our first computer. The United States entered a new era of prosperity and yuppies abounded. At the 1980 Olympic games, the United States hockey team triumphed over the Soviet Union and Finland to win a gold medal and become the national "miracle on ice." And on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down. By the end of the 1980s most of Eastern Europe was emerging from Soviet control. President Reagan and Soviet Premier Gorbachev signed a missile treaty banning intermediate-range missiles.

The 1980s began a time of growth in the Basilica parish and renewed interest in church activities. Father Dennis Dease, who succeeded Father Wagner as rector in 1985, remarks in Voices from a Landmark that "it was a thrill for me to go to the Basilica. Up to that point in my life it was the happiest assignment I'd ever had."

Father Dease's comment that the Basilica's "absolutely grand old architecture... made it a landmark in not only downtown Minneapolis, but throughout the region" attests to his love of the building; elsewhere he speaks equally fondly of the unique community of people that he saw during Mass on Sundays.
Love for the building and recognition of its significant role in the larger community was a seed that grew beyond the Basilica's congregation and came to bear fruit in the founding of The Friends of the Basilica, a community-wide organization.

But while numbers grew and programs revitalized, water continued to leak through the dome and into the ceiling after each snow or rainfall. By the mid-80s it was evident that something needed to be done. Copper from the dome blew off during a storm and plaster chunks fell into the sanctuary.

As Carol Frenning states in Voices from a Landmark, "Wall and wooden support beams were soggy and rotten with water damage. Only four of over one hundred supports that connect the Basilica's three cement floors were intact. While the restoration work was being done, construction workers discovered that the rose windows were actually holding the supporting walls, not the other way around." Father Dease adds, "The capital campaign was to seal the envelope and stabilize the structure. I used to hear those words of our engineer in my sleep at night. 'You have to seal the envelope and stabilize the structure.' "

Damage was assessed, fund raising started, and restoration on the building began.

© Water damage »
Accumulated water damage endangered this painting of Saint Mark, one of the four oil-on-canvas portraits of the Evangelist in the dome over the high alter. – Photo by Michael Jensen. [Close]
© 2007 The Basilica of Saint Mary:  Contact Us  ·  Downloads  ·  Press Room  ·  Site Map  ·  Privacy  ·  Credits