The Basilica of Saint Mary
June 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
Thursday of week 11 in Ordinary Time, or...


A New Dome

The issues of the 1990s are the issues of 2000: global warming, terrorism, famine, the AIDS virus. Some Americans have become rich from the stock market while homelessness and hunger are the plague of others. We communicate in business and with our friends via e-mail; we shop on the Internet. We have a global economy. The concepts of preservation and restoration are commonplace.

In 1991 Father Dease was named president of the University of St. Thomas and Father Michael O'Connell succeeded him as rector of the Basilica.

The story of the 1990s is a full chapter in the Basilica's history. The vision of Archbishop Ireland and architect E. L. Masqueray for this unique building is complete: in the 1990s, the cathedral in the city of Minneapolis has been sustained and embellished.

Improvements to the Basilica and its campus marked the high points of activities in this decade. A stunning new copper dome graces the Basilica; the newly completed undercroft provides much needed community space for programs, fellowship, and worship. New bells named for the saints of the Americas now ring throughout the city. Visitors from throughout the world and members of the community who visit the Basilica enjoy a contemplative haven amidst the flowers and plants symbolic of the Virgin Mary in the Mary Garden, dedicated in 1997 under the direction of the Friends of the Basilica.

The activities and projects accomplished during the nineties reflect energy, creativity, determination, and commitment from hundreds of volunteers and paid workers. To raise the millions of dollars needed for the Basilica's restoration and to complete the undercroft would not have been thought possible even a few decades ago.

Restoring and preserving the building supports the larger cause and makes possible such programs as the Jeremiah Program and the Saint Vincent de Paul Ministry. Featured in the Summer 1997 issue of Basilica Magazine, the Jeremiah Program is "a broad-based community initiative designed to provide a stable environment, housing, child care, health care and job skill training to low-income single mothers." The Basilica chapter of the Saint Vincent de Paul Ministry was founded in 1988 and like the international Catholic organization it is affiliated with, it reaches out to the poor on an individual basis, offering emotional support and immediate material needs such as shoes, bus money, and food.

For centuries churches have been centers for serving the poor, for learning about the nature of God and the world, and for celebrating the arts. The Basilica follows this ancient pattern and has become a center for the revival of the sacred arts. The Icon Festival, held annually during the month of November, displays sacred images that open a window to the divine. The Rose Ensemble, musicians-in-residence at the Basilica, connect us with an ancient and living musical tradition in liturgies and in their concerts. Numerous concerts by a wide variety of choral, instrumental, and dance groups are held throughout the year. A visual artist-in-residence program enhances the seasonal worship environment. As we mark the new millennium at The Basilica, the sacred arts become a vehicle for reflection.

© New bronze bells »
The bells were forged in the Netherlands, were blessed and installed in the West tower in 1998. All are named for saints from the Americas. – Photo by Rich Columbo. [Close]

A wide variety of activities sponsored by the Basilica extend beyond the boundaries of the building to the community at large. From the Blessing of the Animals, with its animal procession into Loring Park, to the rock concerts of the Basilica's Block Party, to the pilgrimages to significant sites, people of varying faiths are invited to participate.

The Basilica's religious and social programs together with its restoration and preservation efforts are powerful examples of a community that understands the importance of honoring our past, celebrating the present, and anticipating the future. For the thousands who drive or walk by, the building stands as a source of inspiration: a splendid, irreplaceable monument in the city.

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